Monday, June 18, 2012

Can speech therapy help my toddler learn to eat?

My 3 year old talks like a champion! He knows all his letters, strings together very complex sentences, can count to almost 50 and knows his 2 times tables.  So why, you may ask, are we going to speech therapy?

Because he doesn't eat :(

Now I know from experience that many mums complain their child "doesn't eat". But when I say Jasper doesn't eat, I actually mean it.  He turned 3 back in March and this is the meager list of foods he will eat:
- strawberries
- dry crackers (premiums, watercrackers)
- sliced cheese (only Mainland brand for some reason)
- rice cakes

And that is it! He's never eaten a piece of meat, weaned himself off milk/formula/other dairy at about 10mths and chokes on anything else he tries to chew or swallow (even lollies).  I've tried all manner of "interesting" things to get him eating (it's a heck of a list!). For instance, here's one of his lunch boxes...
Jasper's lunch box for speech therapy -
I try to mix in the things he will eat with some "testing" foods

Funnily enough though, as a mum, I always knew something wasn't right. As a baby he couldn't breastfeed (I was told it was a yield issue, me not producing enough, although I could express 250mls a go).  On the bottle he'd take 1ml per minute, so 45mins to feed 45mls to him....I spent most of my day feeding him as you can imagine.

At 5mths our pediatrician suggested starting solids stating "kids like him often turn around on solids". So solids began.  It took 3 months before he could swallow a spoonful of pureed food without choking, and even then half of it would still be stuck to the roof of his mouth.

So that is where we are today....for some reason, that no specialist person can detail for me, Jasper can't, or doesn't want to, eat.  Every specialist we've ever seen has a theory:
1. our allergist believes it allergy related
2. our nutritionist says it's oral hypersensitivity
3. the head nurse at the hospital says it's purely behavioral
4. the dentist said it's teeth misaligned
5. our GP said we're abusing him through starvation (thus, we've changed doctors)
6. our pediatrician said I was a hypochondriac

But at least the speech therapist is being more helpful and positive. Mary says it's a strange & complex case, and she's pulling together various modalities to get to the bottom of it.  Plus she doesn't think we're plain crazy!

So I'll keep you in the loop as we progress and here's hoping we finally get some answers - and some food into my little man :(

Cass x


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