Saturday, January 14, 2012

Early Intervention - Feeding Therapist

The feeding specialist came to our house for the first time on Thursday. Since she was scheduled to arrive at 1145 and she is a feeding therapist, I purposely didn't feed my son before she arrived. Apparently I should have. Oops. For her purposes at this stage, building tolerance is about play not actually eating. Eating will happen once he has developed a comfort level with the feel and smell of the foods.

While she got settled I gave him a container of bananas as she was interested in seeing how he eats. She noticed that he does suckle on the food (looks kind of like chewing but not really since it's all puréed). I told her of his recent progress with the Hershey bar and licking spills off his fingers, which she agreed were good signs.

Then she did some muscle stretches with him. One she called "monster faces" and she wants me to do with him, to help build up his cheek muscles. I hope that doesn't mean he's going to lose his soft squishy cheeks:( You put your hands on either side of their face starting with the bottom of your hand by their ears and slowly and firmly move the hands forward, squeezing gently the whole way until your fingertips touch by their mouth. Then she did something where she moved her fingers around his mouth inside and outside his lips.

She encouraged that I get him an electric toothbrush and use that on his checks lips and inside his mouth to get him used to the sensation of different things in his mouth.

He has been sitting in a high chair which after three kids the seat back is a little loose so often falls back and is more reclined than it should be even at its most upright position. She suggested getting him in a booster at the table as your body should be at 90 degree angles when you eat (ie back straight, knees bent in front of you and feet flat on the floor) Obviously that last one is tough for him, but once she left I did put the booster in an extra sets. Also if he's actually sitting at the table then he feels more like part of the family at meal times and may feel more inclined to joining us in eating what we are.

Then it was time to get messy and play with food. She asked for some Cheerios and used some of his puréed bananas and came up with different games to get him to touch them. She had him build a wall using Cheerios as bricks and the banana as glue. Then she made a little puddle of the bananas and then put tried to get him to push the Cheerios in it (fish jumping into the ocean). Then when she could tell he didn't really like getting sticky fingers anymore she took some plain Cheerios and had him lift them like a crane and drop them into her hand or his hand. Then since so much of children accepting things has to do with lateral thinking, she asked me if I had any other round crackers. I found some Sesame Street crackers in the cabinet that are small circles a little smaller than a quarter Elmo faces and Big Bird faces. She used them to go through the bananas and try to get him to squish them. He did for a little while, but then she and I could tell he had had enough. Overall she was there for about an hour.

She gave me a shopping list for next week and asked that his sisters and I play with food with him at least once before she comes back next Thursday, (along with getting the toothbrush). She also gave me some papers to read about feeding therapy.

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