Feeding Therapy with SOS

 

chef cooking in kitchen
uyPhoto by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

Continuing from the theme of earlier this week in terms of preparing for the holidays, part of doing so is to think about meals and what will be served, how many people are coming, what ingredients you will need and then cooking.  If you have a child who can’t tolerate eating different foods then YOU have an additional layer that is so emotionally ridden.  If you have a child who cannot tolerate the smell of foods cooking or the site of those which you have on the counter how will you prepare them?  Food is such a basic thing that we need for every day.  Working with parents each week with children who have feeding challenges reminds me of the emotional influence that problems in this area pose to families. Having taken Dr. Toomey’s training this past fall, I became aware of information that might be able to help you and I have already found its benefit during my daily practice:

“The SOS Approach to Feeding program was developed by and copyrighted by Dr. Kay Toomey.  Please note, all materials, documents and forms taken from the SOS Approach to Feeding program are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Dr. Kay Toomey. For more information on the SOS Approach to Feeding program, please visit www.sosapproach.com.”     

This article can describe what can be done When-Children-Wont-Eat-Understanding-the-Whys-and-How-to-Help.pdf

and in her blog post, a parent relates how her child benefitted from its use https://singingthroughtherain.net/2013/03/tips-for-children-with-feeding-disorders.html

The SOS Feeding approach is appropriate for children that are “problem feeders” and not “picky eaters”, which can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between. Picky eaters are those that have a limited variety of foods and will not easily eat, but they often will reluctantly touch or taste a new food. Picky eaters do not need SOS feeding therapy. A problem feeder, however, has an even more restricted variety of foods with more severe reactions to interacting with non-preferred foods and is a candidate for SOS feeding therapy. Here are some questions to consider if you are concerned about your child’s eating:

  • Does your child have a decreased range or variety of foods (less than 20)?
  • If your child gets “burned out” on food and takes a break from it, will they refuse that food still, after the break?
  • Does your child refuse entire categories of food groups (proteins, vegetables, etc.) or texture groups (hard foods, soft cubes, puree textures)?
  • Does your child almost always eat different foods at a meal than the rest of the family?
  • Have you reported concerns about your child’s feeding across multiple well-child check-ups?
  • If you answered “yes” to several of the above questions, talk to your child’s pediatrician about a referral for an evaluation to determine if feeding therapy would be warranted for your child.

Please note, the term “problem feeder” is used by the SOS Feeding approach program to delineate children who are outside the normal range of age-appropriate feeding behaviors, i.e. only being a “picky eater”.

Is your child a red flag for a referral?  Know that in this season of giving that you can be given the hope of improved ability to help your child enjoy eating!

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Adoption: Developmental Differences to Consider

Sixteen years ago when I was trying to locate a woman who wanted to plan for the placement of her child in the hands of adoptive parents, “birth parent” was used to refer to the parent who gave birth to the adopted child.  With the increased variety of methods by which families can be created, I guess the term “biological parent” came into vogue.  Adoption is only one way to create a family, after all. 

What Do Biological Parents Do???:   Many biological parents who have to place their child in the hands of adoptive parents do so with significant personal sadness.  The circumstances that brought them to the point of having to do so is often quite unfortunate, leaving a personal scar that may never heal.  Biological parents may have to PLAN an adoption, because they love their child and want the best for them, realizing that they cannot care for them.  It is not necessarily, as i have heard many state, that the child involved was “given away”.  This term in actuality is offensive to many in the adoption community.

Baggage Carried:  I do not think that as a group people who adopt necessarily consider the developmental differences to which these childern may be prone.  Impoverished living conditions, poverty, abuse or genetically carried predispositions may all be contributing factors that are unknown to a prospective adoptive parent and child.  In a professional role, there is a responsibility to both be aware of and appreciate this fact.  I also believe that it is the role for every professional who touches the life of an adopted child to become an educator for both the adoptee and adoptive parent in terms of the differences that are present.  Teaching the adoptee and the adoptive parent how to deal with the problems that may be present, so that functioning is at the highest possible level is extremely important.   Parents need to be empowered to locate professionals who are adoption savvy – aware of the issues. As well, the possibility of screening a child who was adopted in

Birthdays:  From their perspective, the adopted child will always understand that there is a person or people who chose to not care for them after they were born. Children who walk into your office will carry throughout their lives a feeling of having been rejected, on some level. Birthdays will always represent a day of loss for them. They may be exciting, but sad as well. Sometimes adopted children withdraw from their adoptive family on that day, not wanting to confront this aspect of their lives. Instead, they may bury their head into a solitary activity, avoiding others.

Environment:  Children who are adopted may come from homes that are void of adequate nutrition.  Biological parents of adoptees who choose not to raise them may do so because of poor financial circumstances.  They may have need for the money that the legal process invovled in the actual adoption process may be a motivating factor for them to go this route.  

Child trafficking: This is something well documented in China.   The following link provides a detailed definition of this term and after reading this, one can come to appreciate how trafficking can influence a person:  www.unicef.org/southafrica/SAF_pressrelease_notetrafficking.pdf  The emotional toll that this takes on a human being cannot be understated.  The article that I reference here gives a very real picture of the very issue. 

Orphanages:  If a child was in one internationally or domestically prior to placement there may be factors that cause delays in the development of communication skills, nutrition and overall growth.  Sharon Glennen, PhD., CCC/SLP has documented this in her articles that are readily available online.  In her article “Orphanage Care and Language” she talks of her own experience in adopting a child from Russia.  Her travels to various orphanages and observations made during her visits are documented.  Amongst the red flags that she notes are a lack of environmental stimulation from adults, delays in language development, low birth weight, limited play opportunities.   Some children are left drinking from bottles or may not be assisted in learning how to eat with utensils.  One can surmise that the need for a multidisciplinary team evaluation and treatment approach in working with these children is essential to help them reach typical developmental milestones.    

In closing, I quote Susan Soon-Keum“ADOPTION is bittersweet,” said Susan Soon-Keum Cox, vice president for public policy and external affairs at Holt International, a Christian adoption agency based in Eugene, Ore., with an extensive program in China.  She states that “The process connects birth parents, child and adoptive parents in an unequal relationship in which each party has different needs and different leverage. It begins in loss”.    www.cityrooms.blogs.nytimes.com:  *“For Adoptive Parents, Questions without Answers” We all need to be sensitive when we deal with all of these parties.  Families where there is an “open adoption”, where the adoptive parents and child have a relationship especially in domestic ones, where we as professionals have a possibility of gaining more information. In some cases it will not be and you will have no history at all….there will be gaps in our knowledge of that with which we deal.  This is an unfortunate reality with which we all must sadly deal.

Part One: How Do We Get Back to School?…. Get started with some of the general nuts and bolts

This can be challenging, especially for the life of a special needs parent. Transitions can be hard so in this post I am going to focus on setting up an outline which may not be all inclusive but potentially helpful and include some links that may assist.  I’ll then focus more specifically on what paperwork may be helpful to pull together for that first day with your child who may have an IEP at school in Part Two.
 

Heading Back to School..A Change of Seasons and a Need to Re-Organize

School sales started even before August 1st. I had trouble with that and still do because it feels like the summer is being perpetually being increasingly rushed such that even if you are away on vacation, there is that reminder abundantly present around you that the season and level of responsibility for your family (if with young children) will be changing sooner than you think.  Even if you are an empty-nester ity is a reminder of the change of seasons and that the cooler weather season should be drawing soon upon the doorstep.  Yes – the reality is that this time of year is fast approaching in the Mid-Atlantic part of the United States.

Preparation

School Supplies: an annual rite of passage    

As a child, I remembered that it starts again and is exciting because you hunt for that clean and crisp new notebook, new pens filled with ink, unsharpened pencils, crisp notebook paper etc. I must be dating myself – but one ritual I remember was making book covers from the nice shiney ones that they sold in the stores.  They were paper with pretty designs such as this one from https://shiny-happy-art.myshopify.com/collections/stationery/products/shiny-happy-owls-book-cover?variant=18248709668961   or the ones that I made out of paper bags. Here is a link so you can see how to do this from scratch https://youtu.be/5fpaUSjqXro I also remember metal lunch boxes, insulated bags, ice packs and thermos bottles for lunch box preparation. It was always nice to have a matching box and thermos at school. Everything had to be properly labelled.  Look at the lunch boxes above..in the picture…It was so much fun to pick out a new one.

Not all of these materials are relevant today; but: for now, we need to consider tablets or laptops.  The very basic supplies of compatible pens headsets or bluetooth devices, phones and the accessories that go along with these may be necessary as well. My inbox had information about deals and here is a list for you https://www.google.com/search?q=back+to+school+sales+on+tablets+and+laptops&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS816US816&oq=back+to+school+sales+on+tablets+and+laptops&aqs=chrome..69i57.9653j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8   

Clothes

Make sure that you have the proper uniforns, shoes/socks, a sweater and a bookbag. Labelling every item will ensure everything comes home and here is a link for an example about which i am speaking https://www.leeleelabels.com/clothing-labels/

On hold, but on the list for later:  wintercoat and boots, gloves, scarf and hat-depending on where you live.  Some stores are selling these now so watch online.

Schedules and Routines:  Manage These With Ease:

Here are links to those alarm clocks that older kids may enoy

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home-products/g27326259/kids-alarm-clocks/

https://www.gearhungry.com/best-kids-alarm-clock/

  • Wipe-off boards  with markers will be great for the whole household to keep track of schedules and as well a bulletin boards to hang up all of those important announcements that come home.  First thing that you may want to put up is that emergency contact list if you have a nanny or family member taking care of your child after school.  Practice Will Help Everyone 

An extra idea:  Can your child help with chores at home i.e. setting the table for dinner, preparing one item, making lunch, laying out clothes for the morning and packing a book-bag the night before so you are set to go in the morning..  Think of the self-esteem that that may build!  Whatever routines you have organized for your individual family….try and  use them over the next few weeks.  

Related articles:  Sugar Shout Out: Lunch Box Surprises For the First Day of School (popsugar.com)