Part of Jack's issues (sensory/aspergers) is that he is an EXTREMELY picky eater. He has a set list of things he will eat, and has had a hard time adding new items (he will occasionally drop an item, but not add). So, we talked with his OT about it, and she began exploring this with Jack. We figured out pretty quickly, that we need a little more help with this than she could provide, so we were referred to a psychologist who specializes in helping kids like Jack eat. We have been calling it Eating School.
She set up coping skills for him (which have worked WONDERS for him outside of Eating School), and set up rules that she follows (and now his OT follows to work on other foods). There is a reward system in place, and tons of positive reinforcement. He has done very well with this system, but only with his therapists. He has not been able to transfer it to eating at home.
This changed tonight. Tonight, Jack, Hemi, and I sat down and ate a real meal. No chicken nuggets, no pizza, no pancakes. The three of us had BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, and mandarin oranges.
A. REAL. MEAL.
And there was no arguing, no anxiety, no refusal to eat. There was a lot of cheering on, and lot of discussion about it, but real food was consumed.
And it was GLORIOUS.
Jack has been eating BBQ chicken and corn as part of his Eating School and OT. He has claimed he liked it, but then hasn't eaten it at home. We have a list of preferred foods, sometimes food, and food we'd like him to eat. In order to get an item moved to the like column, he has to eat it at home 2 times. We are half way to getting BBQ chicken and corn to the like column. This is MAJOR. I feel like finally the hard work, and the endless appointments have paid off.
Another MAJOR, WONDERFUL milestone is that he actually tried mashed potatoes at home. He didn't need to try them at Eating School or with his OT first. He ate them with me. Four (4) very small bites, but 4 bites. To say that I am over the moon with excitement is an understatement. I have never been more proud of him. Hemi and I cheered him on, and clapped and high-fived when he swallowed a bite. And then I rewarded both of them with ice cream.
I feel like we have been chipping away at this brick wall, and finally, FINALLY, we have knocked a hole in it. We now have a reference point for when he doesn't want to eat these foods. He can no longer tell me that he can't do it, because we all know he can.