Thursday, 16 August 2012

Food is friend, not foe!

Wow, what a crazy, busy couple of weeks, time is flying past and I wonder what I do each day, then I remember what is in each day and wonder how I managed it fit so much in, but it sometimes just goes into one giant blur. Clouds zooming fast through the sky with not a moment to lose. We had a flying day trip to Brisbane to visit the speech pathologist at the Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Association and it is always such a pleasant, useful and inspiring place to visit. Our plan with the speech pathologist was to go through what we were currently working on, oral alerting, oral stimulation, sensory awareness and all of us learning makaton sign.  After which we were going to learn more about Faith's approach to feeding that the speechy had especially designed for Faith, working with what challenges we have and of course the distance issue. What an amazing program she developed! We are using strategies from the SOS feeding approach (Sequential Oral Sensory). The SOS Approach focuses on increasing a child’s comfort level by exploring and learning about the different properties of food and allows a child to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way, beginning with the ability to tolerate the food in the room and in front of him/her; then moving on to touching and eventually tasting and eating foods. It is such a fun approach. We are not using the typical 'guidelines' as there is no one living in our local area that runs this program to help us so sadly can't run it the normal way with other kids and parents but not to be dismayed as a feeding approach was created just for Faith. We have session goals, medium goals and long term goals with our ultimate goal being Faith eating and no tube.

We had our first session, where I had prepared different foods, purees, hard munchables, ranging in colours and smells. I had never pureed just cauliflower before and what a strong smell it has to the luscious sweet smelling pear and we all wanted to devour on the spot. Foods are arranged in order called a food hierarchy, wow, so much to learn. Speech Pathology is such an interesting field, I am learning so much and enjoying learning too. Anyway, we followed a plan with certain guidelines. Faith tolerated the food in front of her, she didn't touch it but she allowed us to play with it in front of her and make a huge fuss, three adults having carrot sword fights, making faces, decorated cauliflower bouquets with sweet potato, fruit hand cream, flying saucers, all the manners at the table were gone. If Faith didn't want a particular food on her plate, then we covered it with a servitte so she couldn't see it. We all smelled the yummy food as it went around and talked about the flavors and scent. I am even more appreciating my awareness of texture, smells and taste. it is so easy for me to just eat what I would like and not think of how a certain texture or tastes, scares me, makes me uncomfortable or just freaks me out. Apparently Faith did really well for the first session as some kids yell and scream and protest but she sat watching, observing and wondering. The plan is to do the session once week and work up to more and also to have a family meal together so Faith can just watch and be part of the family fun at the table. I must admit I am excited, we have goals, we have dreams too but most of all, this will be better for Faith, this approach will work and will get rid of her tube and have her at least eating purees again.

We went to Byron Bay on the weekend to visit some family and as we sitting in the annex of their caravan, the wind blustering outside and the rain hoizontal Faith dipped her hand into my cool lime and lemon drink, she swished it around and then did again and again. Then of course, the little chubby hand comes right at me to say, I am clever mummy! We then explained to our family why this was a good thing for Faith to be doing and why we are encouraging food play over manners. With everything I eat I show Faith and one day she will see food as friend not foe...

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