Friday, 26 October 2012

Adventures in Feeding Therapy

I am writing this post with a heavy heart.  We have completed the eight extra sessions of Feeding Therapy that I fought really hard to get.  There will be no more.  It breaks my heart to think that we're back to doing this without professional support.  I am not sure what our options are, or what to do next other than hope- but thought that it was still important to share this with you.

Feeding Therapy is about making it all work.  Generally speaking, there are many factors involved in feeding disorders, and a broad range of approaches.


One of the first things that our feeding therapist did with Owen was mirror work.  Now that I look back I am kind of kicking myself over not thinking of it.  It's hard to move your mouth effectively if you have difficulty feeling it.  And it's really hard to figure out how your tongue works if you don't even realize that you've got one.

I see a tongue in there! Can you stick it out?
I will be the first to admit that putting a mirror beside the kitchen table is a little weird, but if it helps him- I'm game!

Stick out your tongue! Notice how flat it is?

Owen and I have learned a lot about how his body works during our therapy sessions.  I learned that sometimes we have to physically assist him by helping him stabilize his jaw to make it work more effectively.  And that he often needs a mirror so that he can see himself- because his sensory system sends mixed up messages he can't go by feeling alone.
Now sweep the tongue across
Stabilize the jaw

Owen has spent a lot of time learning about how his body works.  We have coloured and named the different parts of the tongue and mouth, tasted things that are bitter, sour, sweet and salty.  We spend a lot of time describing textures too- like soft, smooth, crunchy, hard.  We talk about small bites since he chokes so often- yes, I have watched him turn blue on a few occasions, which frightens me to death.  He is learning to spit!  I know, it doesn't sound like something a parent should be proud of, but it tells me that he is gaining a bit more oral motor awareness and control.

Just for fun, we smear things around his mouth (like chocolate sauce or strawberries) and have him try to move his tongue to clean it off.  Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, he smears a little farther than his tongue can reach....

You've come a long way Baby!

I plan on writing a post every Thursday for the next little while to give you a glimpse inside our lives.  Thursday will henceforth be known as Therapy Thursday, and I hope that you will join me.  Post a blog, or tweet about it using the hashtag #TherapyThursday.  Feel free to post a link below in the comment section!  Remember that there are many different types of therapy- Occupational, Physical, Feeding, Speech Language and Behavioural to name a few.  I hope it will serve as yet another way to spread awareness of special needs!

From the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

"Occupational therapy is the art and science of enabling engagement in everyday living, through occupation; of enabling people to perform the occupations that foster health and well-being; and of enabling a just and inclusive society so that all people may participate to their potential in the daily occupations of life (Townsend& Polatajko, 2007, p. 372)."

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