Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bekah's Eating

Myth = Eating is easy

Truth: Eating is the MOST complex physical task that human beings engage in. It is the ONLY human task which requires every one of your organ systems, and requires that those systems work correctly. In addition, EVERY muscle in the body is involved (one swallow for example, takes 26 muscles and 6 cranial nerves to coordinate). Plus, eating is the only task children do which requires simultaneous coordination of all eight of our sensory systems.

Many of you have heard me talk about Bekah's eating issues. We aren't really sure why she has issues - we are assuming it was because it was the numerous bouts of stomach flu she had as an infant that caused these negative reactions to food. We could be wrong though and it could be something totally different. We may never know. Bekah at this time can't really articulate the whys and by the time she is able to she may not know herself.

We enrolled her in an SOS feeding program (Sequential Oral Sensory) which was developed by Kay A. Toomey. She did very well in this program and while she is not eating a huge amount of new foods she has added some and is growing and developing as she should. When we started she would eat some fruits, orange cheese, chicken ring nuggets (only the ring shaped), some cereal, PB&J sandwiches and a few other things. Certain foods would make her scream, tantrum and/or vomit just by looking at it. There were days where she would just see me take something out of the cupboard to start making it for dinner and would just have a total melt down. Those issues are gone. She will now tolerate most food on her plate-though she remains quite adamant that she is not eating that. Since the therapy she will now eat cheese pizza, yogurt, mozzarella cheese, pickles, raisins, and a few other items. In the last few months she has begun to eat "regular" chicken nuggets. (It was almost silly the emotions I felt the first time we went to McDonalds and was able to order her a regular Happy Meal).

The cheese pizza was a huge process that took almost 8 months. We started with baking just some plain crusts with a little bit of butter on it. I had her help and see what it was. She has always liked garlic so it was not a big step to make it garlic butter on the crust. Adding cheese took a long time. She liked cheese but could not tolerate melted cheese. It took several times of having her put the cheese on and then watching it melt while in the oven for her to feel safe enough to take a bite. After that we began to add a smidgen of sauce and slowly increased it. Today she will eat most any cheese pizza and now will even share a pizza with Lizzie that has veggies and pepperoni or sausage on half.

Through this process I have "met" many people that are going through similar issues. Most of them are via the Internet and we have shared many emails encouraging each other and swapping stories. God has also brought people right here in my hometown with similar issues which has been such a blessing. It allows one to find humor in the journey and knowing that we are not alone or that it is an issue of "bad parenting" is comforting - to say the least.

One of my 'online buddies' sent me this video. I can't believe I missed this but will add this in here so if interested you can see a little of what Bekah deals with. ABC - Extremely Picky Eaters Struggle

1 comment:

Missie said...

She's come a long way! Step by step!

Have a good week.