Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twittering for The Eating Game

I have been doing a lot of 'tweeting' lately and am enjoying the challenge of making my tweets exactly 140 characters while trying to share what I have learned about children who have significant issues with eating. I also want to mention The Eating Game and the success enjoyed by so many who are using it!

To me whether your child has a diagnosed disorder or not there are some basic issues that need to be addressed. As with any other challenge children face, the earlier the intervention the better. What are some basic considerations for any child who does not eat a healthy variety of foods over a long period of time?

1) Are there any underlying medical or physical reasons for the difficulties with eating?

2) Are there sensory issues? (texture, color, temperature, shape)

3) Does your child have a diagnosed disorder/syndrome that is characterized by a need for predictability, structure and routine?

4) With no diagnosed disorder/syndrome you know from experience that your child functions better when there is structure, routine and predictability in their environment.

With the help of doctors, occupational therapists and pediatric feeding clinics you have hopefully ruled out numbers 1 and 2 above or discussed interventions that will help your child.

If you have ruled out numbers 1 and 2 it might be helpful to consider the implications of numbers 3 or 4 as related to mealtime. For many family members mealtime is often a time of surprises. Some food for thought................................

If a diagnosed disorder/syndrome also involves a delay in social skill development and their ability to be able to interact in social situations, think about how unpredictable mealtimes can be when you consider the social dynamics in a family at mealtime! Put this altogether and for my money you have a situation where the child is going to look for ways to be in control in whatever way they can be. They may remove themselves from the family table and prefer to eat alone. As a parent this would not be your first choice but if this is the only way your child will eat a meal it becomes an acceptable choice. Also, if your child will only eat a select number of foods, this also becomes acceptable in order to make sure they are eating something!

I have more thoughts about this that I will address here soon............................................

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