I don't feel right about my son's feeding therapy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son gets feeding therapy from both his ST and his OT.

His ST is extremely patient with him. If Jayce freaks out, we back up a bit, lower our goal (touch tongue 5 times with vibrating spoon with a touch of food on it) and praise him heavily.

He stopped eating anything but pancakes, cereal, crackers, and ice cream at age 18 months. He is almost three, so if he's touching his tongue with a spoon that contains fruit on it, I think that's progress.

He also will not spoon feed himself. His OT is working on that. The other two therapy sessions, she has basically hand-over-hand forced him to feed himself 8 bits of pudding. He screamed and cried the entire time, for 45 minutes of the 1 hour long session.

I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, but did not stop the therapy.

His OT believes its NOT sensory related. Its behavioral. Its a battle of wills. He CAN do it, he chooses not to. He needs to know who is boss and learn to follow directions.

Here's where I am really conflicted... Jayce will loose services for about 90 days while we wait for funding to come through. So he only has about 4 sessions left with this therapist anyway.

Should I just let him continue? What if she is right??? What if her approach will work?

I am just feeling so unsure about all of this.
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#2 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 08:50 AM
 
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I wish I knew what to tell you. I have always been told that force feeding is bad. We have been to many feeding clinics and they all agree on that.

We haven't made any feeding progress though. At this point my son is taking a little bit from a haberman bottle by mouth and nothing else. I sometimes wonder and am tempted to just get the spoon or food in his mouth some way or another. Nothing else is working.
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#3 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 08:59 AM
 
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I think if he really doesn't like the way the OT is working with him, you should stop doing the therapy. Patience and understanding, like what your ST is doing, will work a lot better than force feeding. I have food issues and I know that if someone force fed me something I didn't want to eat, I would feel really resentful towards that person. I've tried more foods when around my DP and his family when they explained what it tasted like and I was in a no-pressure zone than when my mom would try to force me to eat something she made and flip out if I didn't. I actually developed a phobia of trying new things with my mom's "technique" and I'm struggling to try to get over that. What the OT is doing might actually undo what the ST is doing. The OT is wrong, anyway; food issues are usually sensory related, not behavior related (mine are, anyhow) and if she is refusing to see that, I would discontinue the food therapy with her.
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#4 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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I have a hard time seeing how a 2-3 year old’s eating could be behavioral, especially when he has never really eaten before.

I totally agree with acannon and Liba613. If you aren't comfortable with the therapy then stop now. It could do more harm than good. Trust your instincts.

Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
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#5 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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Even IF it was behavioural, which like the pp I doubt at such a young age, surely force feeding is only gong to make it worse? And IF it's behavioural, there was still something that caused it or triggers it that force feeding will not solve. I'd back off too and say something. If nothing else, force feeding a child, whether they're screaming and crying, or are silent, is a HUGE choking hazard and the OT should know that.
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#6 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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Please please please don't let someone bully your child into doing something he is not comfortable with, it sets a bad precident and it makes him feel bad.

Imo a life of pancakes, cerial, ice cream, and crackers is way better than a life of being conditioned that you are required to do things you do not like just because someone bigger than you told you that you have to do it.

Even worse, it sounds like one therapist is doing this in a way he is comfortable with and the other is torturing him with food in hopes that he will somehow magically like food. I would stick with the good therapist, and register a complaint with the bad one.

As an adult with MANY sensory based food avoidances, I can tell you that I live a full life, and my life does not include pudding, mayonase, beans, curry, raw onions, mushrooms, whip cream, sour cream, etc etc. And if someone tried to force me hand over hand to eat one of those things I would 1) try to leave, 2) verbally protest, 3) sue them, 4) punch him in his pudding eating face.
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#7 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ShaggyDaddy View Post
Please please please don't let someone bully your child into doing something he is not comfortable with, it sets a bad precident and it makes him feel bad.

Imo a life of pancakes, cerial, ice cream, and crackers is way better than a life of being conditioned that you are required to do things you do not like just because someone bigger than you told you that you have to do it.

Even worse, it sounds like one therapist is doing this in a way he is comfortable with and the other is torturing him with food in hopes that he will somehow magically like food. I would stick with the good therapist, and register a complaint with the bad one.

As an adult with MANY sensory based food avoidances, I can tell you that I live a full life, and my life does not include pudding, mayonase, beans, curry, raw onions, mushrooms, whip cream, sour cream, etc etc. And if someone tried to force me hand over hand to eat one of those things I would 1) try to leave, 2) verbally protest, 3) sue them, 4) punch him in his pudding eating face.
Absolutely! I agree with everything here. Whether it is sensory or behavioral(which I doubt), this cannot be good for him. I would not let this continue. Go with your gut here.

Homeschooling mom of 2 rambunctious, loving, spectacular boys, wife to an incredible man who has been my best friend on this journey <3

 

 

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#8 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 03:30 PM
 
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Oh my god. Run away, and fast.
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#9 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 03:48 PM
 
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I would be very uncomfortable too. A battle of wills with a toddler is never a good idea and a therapist who engages in one is not a good therapist!
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#10 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lactationlady View Post
I would be very uncomfortable too. A battle of wills with a toddler is never a good idea and a therapist who engages in one is not a good therapist!
Although I agree with absolutely everything everyone has said, this above quote is exactly what I have been thinking the entire time!!! Thank you, guys, for validating my mommy gut feelings.

I'm speaking with her tomorrow, I'll let you guys know how it goes!
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#11 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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Oh Mama, I'm so sorry to read this - for you and your little one. DD is in a feeding therapy group that strongly steers away from both forcing and using utensils. I would really stop your therapy asap!

Here is a link to list of Feeding Myths that pretty much undermines what it sounds like your OT is doing.

Kay Toomey, who generated that list of myths, suggests that eating is a learned behavior, and that "just as children learn to eat, so can children be taught not to eat by the circumstances of their lives." And, "if learning about food is unpleasant, our bodies will turn off our appetites." Toomey's program is called SOS
SOS Approach to Feeding
The SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) feeding program is a non-invasive developmental approach to feeding. It focuses on increasing a child's comfort level exploring and learning about the different properties of foods, including texture, smell, taste and consistency. The SOS approach allows a child to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way.
I wish I could find the primary handout that we got at the beginning of the feeding group, but I think it's pretty well guarded by Toomey since she does workshops all over the place on this subject, but, if you want to PM me I can get even more specific.

I would say, though, that you might gently suggest to your OT that she look in to the SOS approach. We've been very happy with it.

Wendy ~ mom to VeeGee (6/05), who has PRS, Apraxia, SPD, VPI, a G-Tube, 14q duplication, and is a delightful little pistol! I'm an English professor and a writer.
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#12 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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Yes, I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus. The second approach you described is something I'd run away from.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#13 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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Our feeding therapist would absolutely freak out if she read about someone forcing a child to eat. That's definitely NOT the approach to take with feeding problems. There is often a large behavioral component but there are usually other issues as well that need to be addressed. And even with behavioral problems you don't solve them through a power struggle.

I would have to agree, pull him out.
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#14 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 06:49 PM
 
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My oldest has some major sensory eating issues and some of his issues are indeed behavioral, but forcing him to eat has only ever driven him backwards. Stick with the gentle approach, ditch everything else.
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#15 of 21 Old 04-10-2008, 03:24 AM
 
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People that assume that not eating a particular food is a behavioral issue really tick me off. I would get in SO much trouble as a child for not eating something, or "over exagerating" and basically just made to feel horrible. I was fortunate that my dad had food allergies that prevented many foods, so I benefited from his very limited diet most of my growing up because it was in line with my preferences. I missed many a recess because I couldn't eat what was on my plate, even though I felt like I was starving.

I have many food issues as an adult from the shame I dealt with as a child.

I would really struggle with how your OT is handling it, largely because all of the feeding therapies I have seen have been about getting the child to try it on their own, in an encouraging, consentual way. It isn't a "victory" if it is done through force. It is just force.

Mom to 10yo Autistic Wonder Boy and 6yo Inquisitive Fireball Girl . December birthdays.

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#16 of 21 Old 04-10-2008, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Updated:

I had a l-o-n-g talk with her. I praised her for all the wonderful things she has done to help Jayce's sensory system get in place. I told her I thought the social story she wrote was exactly what Jayce needed. And then I took a deep breath and told her how much Tuesday's session had upset me.

I laid it all out... how I don't want Jayce to be forced into doing anything all the while ignoring his protests. Pushing tolerance limits are one thing... forcing and ignoring are completely another and not acceptable. I told her how much I respect Jayce as an individual and that she needs to do the same.

I also told her that I do not want feeding to become a battle. I like how the ST handles food, so for now, we are only going to let his ST handle the introduction of new foods. If the OT wants to keep working on his spoon grip and self-feeding practice, then we are to ONLY use foods he is already comfortable with and excepting.

It went 1,000 times better today

She apologized for upsetting Jayce and me, and I saw a real difference in her attitude when working with him
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#17 of 21 Old 04-10-2008, 04:09 PM
 
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That probably took some real courage. You are a wonderful mama. You reflected on something that didn't sit well in your gut, and then you took some (not so easy) steps to protect your child from this approach that was counter productive for him.

I am so glad to hear your session went so much better today!

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#18 of 21 Old 04-10-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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I'm so glad it went better, and CONGRATS for handling it so well!!!!!!:

Wendy ~ mom to VeeGee (6/05), who has PRS, Apraxia, SPD, VPI, a G-Tube, 14q duplication, and is a delightful little pistol! I'm an English professor and a writer.
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#19 of 21 Old 04-10-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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Good for you! I always have such a hard time with things like that. You stood up for your ds and it paid off. Too bad there isn't a high-five smiley.
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#20 of 21 Old 04-10-2008, 05:34 PM
 
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You know, I avoid alot of foods, because I find them repulsive. It's probably partly sensory and maybe partly that I'm a supertaster. Thankfully my parents rarely forced me to eat, cause truly I CANNOT eat the things I avoid without getting ill (vomitting). I know it was a pitb to have a kid who would turn down their hamburger cause they forgot to order it plain or who had to have spaghetti when everyone else was having pizza (or later have the weird kid who picked off all the toppings off the pizza). Thankfully my sister loved everything and would gladly take the mushrooms off my pizza and eat my pickle so I didn't have to try to eat with that odor on my plate! As an adult I worry about going to a dinner party and finding nothing I can eat or looking rude cause I can't eat dishes with mayo in them; I push salad around my plate cause I can't eat salad dressing... It can be a big issue for a person, so good for you for not forcing!
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#21 of 21 Old 04-10-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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Good for you!!
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