How many times were we told as children: “Clean your plate”, “Don’t talk with your mouth full”, “Don’t play with your food”? I’m not saying that our mothers, and those generations of mothers before us, were wrong. But sometimes rules are made to be broken. And when you are a mother of a child who has sensory processing disorder, often those rules are thrown out the window altogether. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean that the children are running wild with no discipline at all. It simply means that the “rules” aren’t as important as the development of the child.
Here are some ways that we are breaking all of the rules, and loving it:
1. Don’t play with your food: A huge part of JC’s therapy for tactile aversion is messy play and we often use food for this. If he can’t stand to touch applesauce, he will never eat it! So desensitizing him to the feel of those textures is an important way to pave the path for him to eventually explore them with his mouth. Creating a fun activity with those items that he avoids reduces the anxiety that he feels and will hopefully allow him to associate food with fun rather than pain, angst and fear.
2. Clean your plate: When a child has anxiety related to food, adding to that anxiety by forcing them to eat is going to be counter-productive. I have even found that limiting the amount of food that I put on JC’s plate helps this anxiety level a great deal. If he has more than a few bites on his plate at once, it seems too overwhelming and he will push the plate away and refuse to eat altogether. Likewise, if there is more than one type of food on his plate, its harder to get him to eat anything at all. So I try using separate bowls so that he can focus on one item at a time. It also helps that he knows he can push one bowl away and still have the other to eat from. I also only put a small amount out at first. If he starts to eat it, he will usually ASK for more which gives him a more proactive role in the meal-time process. …continue reading
As the parents of a caring and funny little six year old, who just happens to have been diagnosed with SPD, my husband and I have become accustoms to all that SPD means to our family. We can set up picture schedules, arrange therapies and appointments , manage a sensory diet, cook gluten free, ignore dirt looks, make a speedy exit from most locations, and calm a speeding/spinning child with one arm tied behind our back. Well maybe not that easily, but we’ve gotten pretty good at it. As you may know when things seem to settle down that is usually when life throws you a curve ball.
Besides being the proud parents of our caring and funny six year old we are also the adoring parents of an adorable and energetic little three year old. My husband and I absolutely love our boys and thecrazy funny life we share with them. When our second son came along we were just beginning our journey into discovering how special and unique our oldest son is. I think there is a reason for that. Hadwe known the twists and turns our life would take we might not have had the courage to expand ourfamily from three to four, but I digress.
Even with the distractions of our oldest sons trials our youngest has always made his present known. As a newborn he developed refux that kept him from eating or sleeping most of the time and so he required special care. When the reflex began to subside he was about one and already running through the house like a mad man. No place was safe from his reach. Then he started talking. He talked in complete sentences almost from the start, and to this day really never stops talking unless he is asleep. With the way in which he talks and moves about you simply cannot be in the same building as him and not know he is there.
Unlike our older son who has been riddled with infection after infection most of his six years our little guy has always been very healthy. Well that is with the exception of his reflux. Being as healthy as he is we have tried not to worry too much about his odd eating habits. You see although he will request a variety of foods he actually only eats a select number of things. He also tends to gag when attempting to eat certain foods. Our pediatrician has always said this is a left over effect of having such severe reflux as a baby. The thing is it isn’t getting better. Sometimes it feels like it is getting worse. The other thing is that the bigger our little guy is getting the harder it seems to be for him to enjoy himself and control his emotions. He does ok when he is one on one with an adult, but add any one else or a change of location into the mix and he often spins out of control. …continue reading