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Old 09-29-2010, 08:30 PM   #1
JamesMom
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Sensory Kindergartener & Food = Monster

I think I have created a monster. The enemy is food for my sensory kid.

My DS5 is five and has been under therapy since 2. He had a speech delay (spoke no words at 3, about 50 at 4 and is pretty much caught up now), intense sensory/rigidity at 3 so much so that the school was thinking autism but that was ruled out by 4. He has indeed come along way. He finally was toilet trained by his 5th birthday (still goes #2 in his pull ups at night those *grr*). He has adjusted to Kindy pretty well and the teacher is great about working with his need for routine. He has services for speech, OT and reading.

Anyways, he has made such progress in so many areas that we have one major one to work on-- food. He ate great as an infact, okay as a toddler and now a total monster. He used to eat eggs, yogurt & pizza, but now I can count on both hands what he will eat - eveything else is 'yucky': crackers, peanut butter, chicken nuggets, goldfish, cereal & milk, pretzels (big ones), hotcakes & waffles, Kraft Mac & Cheese (no other will do) and maybe, if he is in the mood - fishsticks. Oh and sweets - candy, cake frosting (not the cake), ice cream and popsicles. He takes vitamins every night. He REFUSES fruits & vegetables in every form whether as a juice, mashed, cooked or raw or smoothered in cheese. We indulged him because we were fighting other battles--talking & pooping on the potty.

It appears to be affecting his behavior. All those carbs cannot be good for his blood sugar and it is probably taking a dip because an hour or two before bed for about a week now he has been having fits. At his 5 year check-up this past July I told the pedi about his food fetishes and she expressed no concern. Now I am.


Do I take him to the pedi or a nutritionist for advice on how to get him to eat? Hubby wants to go cold turkey on 'junk' knowing that his body will demand food and he'll be forced to eat what we give him. I think with a sensory kid this is more trouble than its worth. And what do I do about school? I don't want food drama there (I already pack a lunch with the permissables - see older thread) or behavioral problems stemming from hunger.

Ugh - what do I do? Thanks for reading and even more thanks for responding.
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Last edited by JamesMom; 09-30-2010 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:55 PM   #2
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I'd try to gently wean him over. For instance, dd loves tortilla chips and black bean dip. You can just puree black beans, and it's much healthier than commercial dips. Also, I pack things like mandarin oranges for her lunch. Kids will often eat differently around peers, than at home. I'm just saying, try small steps.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:12 AM   #3
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First whatever clinician told you that they could rule out HFA/Aspergers was grossly incompetent particularly at that age. It may just be the sensory component, but often if it continues after the age when peer pressure would come into play, it may have a social component.

You really need to take your child to a major medical center who specializes in sensory issues and ASD to get this sorted out.

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Old 09-30-2010, 08:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookwormde View Post
First whatever clinician told you that they could rule out HFA/Aspergers was grossly incompetent particularly at that age. It may just be the sensory component, but often if it continues after the age when peer pressure would come into play, it may have a social component.

You really need to take your child to a major medical center who specializes in sensory issues and ASD to get this sorted out.

bookwormde
Thanks for the reply. His spec ed teacher in PK4 last year and I pretty much ruled out Asppy or Autism. When my son was younger he demonstrated what I call "blinders" - he simply didn't see other people or consider them in terms of eye contact, etc. I remember a community Easter egg hunt when he was three. There were about a 100 kids there but he moved among them as if he and his brother were the only ones there. It was spooky to watch. Now, he seeks out play and interacts (not parallel) with games and conversation. He'll point out a child at the playground and call him/her "my friend". Lastly, he has learned to recognize and express emotion. He said 'I love you' to me at age 4.5 and says it almost daily. He is free with hugs and smiles. He also announces when he is mad or frustrated. Like I said, he has come a long way from that closed up little boy who wouldn't let me drive a different way home or wouldn't enter an indoor play area because of the loud noise.

So I don't believe he is on the spectrum, just dancing around it with the Sensory issues which, also, have decreased significantly. He craved 'input' at age 3 - rolling cars in front of his face on the floor, calming with tight hugs and bouncing on the bed. He loved textures - playing in sand or dirt kept him occupied for long periods of time as a toddler. He was my little 'Linus" with his blanket (a specific one) wrapped around him 24/7. He finally made out of the house without it at age 4.I thought he was just a normal toddler when he had his 'fits'. It wasn't until the county worker came in for speech and commented that his reactions were a little out of the norm. She arrange for a child psychologist to have a look/see and the diagonosis of SID was made at around 2.5 years of age.
He still needs about a week heads up when his routine of school/weekend will be disrupted. He doesn't like to move his seat in the classroom when the teacher creates groups and he reminds her when she deviates from the schedule. But this illustrates the amount of progress he has made since he is more accomodating to change on any scale with adequate preparation.

This is his third year in the public school spec ed program and he will be re-evaluated in the Spring to see if he needs to continue with services as they contract for 3 years at a time with an annual IEP. He currently has daily resource time for reading and potentially, math as well as OT and speech therapy weekly.

Sorry for the book. I really have no one to talk to about this stuff and sometimes I get frustrated and lost, so thanks for listening.
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Trip Report: May 9-15, 2010 - Mother & Son at POR w/Free QS Dinning: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post36675492

Trip Report: December 14-20, 2008 - Mother and Son (6yo) at Contemporary w/Free Dinning: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2038015

Last edited by JamesMom; 09-30-2010 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:59 PM   #5
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None of your description would in any way rule out ASD, higher functioning kids make eye contact, can be very, sometimes hyper affectionate, devolop good compensitory theory of mind skills and want freinds and so forth, so keep an open mind even though it is clear that the sensory issues are where your efforts are best directed now.

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Old 09-30-2010, 02:51 PM   #6
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I would talk to his OT about it. My DD is a picky eater due to SPD. The carb cravings from her bipolar disorder don't help either. We started OT in May and her therapist is working on some of her food issues. It's really helping. The OT got DD to eat broccoli for the first time in 5 years just last week. Woo hoo!
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:33 PM   #7
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Have you used social books with your child? Maybe you could make one about trying new foods, even if it's only one bite?? There might even be a script or a social book available for free to print off the internet.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:22 PM   #9
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You didn't mention milk. Will he drink it?

My 13yo Aspie is much the same about most foods -- his Kraft m&c kick lasted nearly 3 years! The only "fruit" that he will eat is canned pears or chunky applesauce. However, he drinks milk at the rate of 4 gallons a week, and he's as healthy as a horse. He's 5'9" tall, 128 lbs, and solid muscle.

See if you can find a deli-type meat that he will eat -- mine likes Brown Sugar ham. Along-with milk, that's usually the easiest way to get protein into these kids.

Your DH is probably wrong about the "junk food" if by that he means crunchy bread-based things (not the sweets; those you can take away without issue.) Yes, he'll get hungry enough, but he'll eat the absolute minimum that will stave off pain, and 5 will get you 10 that he'll vomit the food up within minutes. BT, DT.

You MIGHT try substituting the pasta in the Kraft mixes with some that has been fortified in some way. It may or may not get past him, but that sauce is pretty strong-flavored so he might not notice the flavor of the pasta underneath -- that is, -if- the texture doesn't clue him in.

I know some people who have had luck using protein powder in/on foods eaten by otherwise non-eating carb-cravers.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:47 AM   #10
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Your son eats more food than my Sensory/quirky 9 year old. He lives on trix yogurt, buttercrisp crackers, barnums animal crackers, an occasional chicken nugget and fry from mcdonalds or chick fila when he wants to play in the play area he has to eat the food first, and pringles original chips. Of course nothing can be broken, toto brown, too funny looking, in a new package, or just not right.

I've been complaining to the doctor for years, since he was 2 and finally this year he took me seriously and we are now seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety towards food issues and he is taking Buspar.

not much change yet, less screaming when we force him to try a new food (a similar food to what he currently eats) but he hasn't introduced any new foods willingly, but we are hopeful.

advice - don't go cold turkey. It could destroy any bonds of love your child feels for you because you will be withholding something his body needs to survive, something a child with severe enough issues will starve before accepting.

Think about if you were asked to eat a wiggling, nasty smelling, black poop patty covered in vomitous slime and see if you want to eat it. That's how my son describes a hamburger. Too many sensations in one package.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:35 PM   #11
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OP, here. Thanks for all the replies.

BTW - he LOVES milk - pretty much all he will drink other than steal my VitaWater He used to drink OJ but not anymore...

Progress: None. I am attempting to find his currency. We made an agreement that if he wants another Webkin toy (my DS7 is obsessed with them so little bro wants them, too) he needs to TRY (as in take a bite) of a new food item. He readily agreed. Since then we have offered new foods and he still rejects them despite being reminded of the Webkin carrot. It's always 'tomorrow'. BTW - Tommorrow isn't here yet

Here's a funny story. He actually said he would try eggs. I cooked them for breakfast on Sunday (he used to eat scrambled eggs about 2 years ago). He refused them because it wasn't Saturday (when I usually cook eggs for breakfast). Can't win for losing. LOL. Guess we'll try eggs again next Saturday.

I guess I'll calm down for now. He is weight is great. Between fortified/whole grain options of his foods and the dairy & gummy vitamins, he appears to get his nutritional needs met. It just disappoints me a little to make food for the rest of family that he won't touch.

Thanks again for keeping me sane.
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Trip Report: May 9-15, 2010 - Mother & Son at POR w/Free QS Dinning: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post36675492

Trip Report: December 14-20, 2008 - Mother and Son (6yo) at Contemporary w/Free Dinning: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2038015
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesMom View Post
...
Progress: None. I am attempting to find his currency. We made an agreement that if he wants another Webkin toy (my DS7 is obsessed with them so little bro wants them, too) he needs to TRY (as in take a bite) of a new food item. He readily agreed. Since then we have offered new foods and he still rejects them despite being reminded of the Webkin carrot. It's always 'tomorrow'. BTW - Tommorrow isn't here yet
...
Honestly, I've always found that with a texture issue, bribes pretty much don't work. The revulsion is just THAT great that all the bribes in the world won't overcome it.

Is he afraid of vomiting, too? My DS had reflux until he outgrew it at age 4, and he is still deathly afraid of the pain of vomiting. If for whatever reason he thinks that a food might make him throw up, it just isn't going to make it into his mouth.

With mine we just stopped all the bribing and setting of conditions ("no doing X until you eat Y"), and stocked the house with do-it-yourself foods that he could handle getting for himself if he didn't want to eat what the rest of the family was eating. (The selection widened as he grew older and learned simple cooking skills.) DH was particularly bad about having a knee-jerk impulse to want to force him to eat, and it was becoming a ridiculous battle of wills. And of course, like toileting, this is one battle that the parent cannot win by force.

The good news is that, at age 13, DS eats a LOT more now than he used to. At about age 9 or 10, he decided that he needed to broaden his palate, and started trying things on his own. Probably 3 out of 4 tries don't work out, but that 25% increase is wonderful. We can now eat out without driving the poor kitchen staff insane. (His new go-to item is grilled fish. He orders it everywhere.)

Oh, and one more thing: if you don't own an immersion blender, go get one NOW. Mine is my very best friend. There are no "lumps" (i.e. recognizable vegetables) in any sauce served in our house now. It's all velvet-smooth, and it goes down much easier.
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:52 PM   #13
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For my son who had lots of sensory issues with food and physical issues with chewing and his tongue we made changes gradually. Grilled cheese went from all crust off to 3 crusts off to crust on to white wheat bread to darker wheat bread to mix of american and mozzerella to cheddar. It took weeks and gradual changes but he really likes to eat and was willing to deal with the slight changes. The breaded foods were easy as we migrated from nuggets to strips to more realistic looking chicken strips to homemade chicken strips that were very healthy. At 5 my son ate no meat except chicken nuggets. At 8 he tried a taco because he liked the smell which brought ground beef into the picture and massively expanded what he would try. Now at 12 he eats pretty much everything including things like chili and lasagna that are mixed texture and spicy. In speech therapy as a preschooler he wouldn't even eat candy. We were flexible with him obviously but when we gave in on letting him eat essentially junk we forced him to compromise too in some small way which I think paved the way to him accepting our incremental changes to the foods he liked. We never lied to him just explained that the food was only changing a tiny bit and if he hated it after eating it all we wouldn't do that change again. We are both stubbron and it worked out though it took years.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:54 PM   #14
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My DS w/Asperger's still has food issues at age 15. He sometimes attempts to try new foods but I can actually see the extreme discomfort it causes him to put something unknown into his mouth. He smells it and hesitates while trying to bring it to his mouth. Sometimes he'll lick it and then wipe off his tongue or drink a bunch of milk or water. I really don't think he's just being stubborn or one-way about it. I truly think new foods assault his senses and he sometimes just can't bring himself to try them.

We don't force or cajole him to try new things. We don't make him feel badly about what he will and won't eat. We encourage him by having him smell things and we try to describe what they taste like (if they're similar to something he does like). He loves bacon and said Canadian bacon smells good when we cook it. We offer him a taste when we eat it but he hasn't quite gotten to the point of putting it in his mouth. Canadian bacon is much lower in fat and I'd like him to try it. Plus, it's so similar to ham that he might be willing to try that if he decides he likes Canadian bacon. We take baby steps and don't make a big deal out of it. His doctor completely understands the problem and just told us to watch portion sizes of carbs and fatty foods.

I don't think battling, especially with a younger child, is the way to go. If your son sees that it's a big deal to you, it will cause him more anxiety. I think going slowly and letting him take the lead will be easier and more effective for all of you. And we've all heard that kids won't starve themselves. If you put food in front of them, they'll eventually eat. I've witnessed first-hand that this is not always the case. It might work on a child without food issues, but sensory kids will often avoid food at all costs.
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:45 PM   #15
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OP, your son sounds JUST like mine. OMG. My son is 4. He used to eat all sorts of fruit (NO veggies, though), but recently stopped eating fruits too. All he eats is chicken nuggets, goldfish, yogurts, chocolate milk, pancakes/waffles, toast with grape jam, hamburgers (plain) and fries. He loves bread in all forms. He also loves cake, candy, ice cream, cookies, etc (i.e. junk).

So, I've started being sneaky with him. He loves banana bread, so I make that a lot. I add in sweet potato or carrot puree to the banana bread instead of oil. I put in a bit of cinnamon too, and he doesn't notice. Eats it right up like it's "cake", but it has quite a bit of mashed banana and vegetables in it.

I put pureed spinach in brownie mix. About 1/2 cup puree per box. Can't even tell it's in there.

When I make waffles or pancakes, I either do pumpkin or blueberry. With the blueberries, I puree them and add them to the batter and we call them "purple" pancakes (or waffles). Adding pumpkin (canned) to pancake and waffle batter is also easy and not really noticeable. Just changes the color, mostly.

I also add carrot puree to the egg wash when I make homemade chicken "nuggets". You can't tell it's in there at all.

I am slowly weaning him off chocolate milk, but just adding less Nesquick every time I make it. It's working pretty well. He drinks a lot of milk, so that's at least good.

We do a Centrum kids multivitamin every day (the ONLY kid's vitamin with 100% DV of IRON....my son was anemic at his last blood draw). We also do Omega-3 gummies, since he doesn't eat any fish or veggies that have that in it.

I have been down the same path as you. Frustrated that he will never eat what I make for dinner, frustrated that he's so close minded about food, etc. However, he used to be a REALLY good eater when he was a baby/toddler....would eat anything put in front of him, until he was about 2. Then it seems like a whole host of sensory issues came into play and I know it's not his fault. It stinks, but I feel like it could be worse, food wise. I know someone whose child would ONLY eat a "smoothie" made from yogurt and orange juice for THREE YEARS!!! I also know another child who would only eat take out chinese food for every meal....three times a day, fried rice and orange chicken. So, I do consider myself blessed that my son will at least eat a balanced diet, although it is very monotonous.
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