Originally Posted by Lottie
So I am looking into biomedical treatments for my ds, who is 3. He has spd along with several autistic like symptoms and behaviours, and we've been working with OT and SLP and he's seen dev. pediatrician (sadly, not super helpful and waiting list is over a year). He's made some progress slowly but now I am looking at a local naturopath who is a DAN! doctor who works with asd/spd.
One of the struggles with ds that has not changed despite much help and many seemingly great strategies from OT and dietician is that my sons diet is very severely self limited. He's down to eating only 5 foods. Even having foods near him that are not on his list causes distress. He is on pediasure (i know, i know, not ideal but he started refusing the awesome smoothies that were the saving grace in his diet so thats where we are right now)This is absolutely a sensory issue that developed the same time other areas regressed. There is no way to 'make' him eat and to do so would cause intense distress and destroy his trust in us and any trust he is very slowly building in food.
So how on earth could we go gfcf and administer multiple supplements? Is that just an unrealistic goal? But if it could be part of healing his gut and contribute to his well being should we do it? I honestly think he would starve before eating somehting he doesn't consider food. ie. he eats only one kind of bagel and so a gluten free one would look different not to mention taste different and he couldnt handle that at this point. he simply wouldnt eat it. everything he eats is dairy or carbs (which to me indicates a problem in itself!)
I realise some of these are questions no one else can answer and I will have to give it more thought and make the best decision I can for my little guy but I'm wondering if anyone else has gone through this and how did it go?
YES, I went through this and came out the other side. I've since learned that I used many techniques that professionals use when dealing with a child with food refusal. You may decide to work with an OT in your home specifically to help your son deal with a change in diet, but, we were able to do this ourselves, with me following my instincts.
It helped that I worked with young children as a clinician before having my own, but, you if you're up for this, go ahead. I can certainly relate to your fear that he will "starve" if you take away his usual foods or you'll loose his trust if you "force" him to eat. I also felt a lot of sadness that eating a "different" diet from other children immediately marked him as different and he'd feel excluded from the fun of pizza at parties or ice cream at school events.
You need a reframe on this. If he wanted to eat "sand" at the beach, you'd stop him and tell him why. If he wants to eat foods that make him "confused", "hyper", "unable to learn", you stop him because you love him and want him to be his best and feel healthy. In kid language, you can say to him, you think his old foods are making his head feel "funny", and he needs to eat different things for his head to feel better.
You must set very clear expectations, placing the food in front of him, and not allowing him an "out". But, set the bar very low. Take 1 bite, before, receiving a very motivating reward. Maybe, it is a tv show he likes, or, a sticker. What ever works. At the same time, explain why eating this food is important.
At the same time, you also have to go "cold turkey" and drop all the foods you think he's intolerant of. At three you can often see BIG changes very quickly. He won't starve. He'll "dry out", as often, kids who are intolerant, CRAVE the foods they're intolerant of, like an addict. When he dries out, you'll ask him to eat one bite, and before you know it he'll eat six because he's hungry and he will actually want to eat more. At least, that was my experience and that of other parents I know. You have to give it time. It may take two weeks, maybe less, but, he'll learn. Three is a good age to do this, as he's young enough that he won't remember his old diet when he is elementary age.
My son is now 12 and eats EVERYTHING, but, is still on a gf/cf diet. He used to be VERY sensory sensitive but no longer has a hard time chewing and swallowing a variety of foods. And, dietary changes were the linchpin for us, in seeing great improvement in his developmental progress. He is no longer on the spectrum.
Let me know if I can answer any more questions.....