Saturday, March 7, 2009

keeping up with life...

So for the 6 or 7 of you who check in from time to time, just thought I would let you know I am going to start using this blog as a way to keep track of some of the craziness we deal with from day to day. I will post a more extensive blog about some history with jackson a little later. But for now, I hope I don't bore you with the everyday issue I have as jackson's mom of getting him to eat. Yes, my 5 year old has a love-hate relationship with food and we are having to work on not only getting him to eat, but to enjoy mealtimes and try new foods. I have started countless notebooks of food logging and diaries and just can't keep up with the pen and paper so I am going to keep some things on here just as a reference with dates and progress to document.

Jackson was diagnosed with a moderate, expressive language delay as a 2 1/2 year old. We feared he may be demonstrating some autistic traits so we took him to the pediatrician and then got referred for evaluation with a speech and language pathologist. His testing could not be totally scored as a result of his fascination and almost obsession with the page numbers of the testing book versus what was actually on the page. We immediately sought a therapist who could help jackson. He has had 2 and 3 day a week speech therapy since then and has demonstrated remarkable progress with that therapy. Jackson is remarkable in his love of academics and his reading ability. He was spelling his name as an 18 month old and sounding out words by 2 1/2. He is reading on a kindergarten/first grade level and just turned 5 last week. All this to be said, if you ask him what he did at school or where he wants to have his birthday, he gets a confused look on his face, scratches his head, and fumbles with what words would form an appropriate answer. It does add a dose of humor to our day when he says things like, "mom, I have sick all over my tummies." He tries so hard to express what he is thinking and feeling and sometimes it just gets all jumbled up. Even now, he will introduce himself to the kids in his pre-k class like they have never seen him before when they have been in school together all year. Every morning he bounces into class with a huge smile and exclaims, "Hi! I'm jackson!" to which the kids giggle and call him silly.
All this to be said, Jackson is our unique gift from God and we face challenges just like any other family does. We are blessed that he is generally healthy (minus the egg allergy and seasonal and pet allergies). He is a happy well adjusted kid. Well, until it is time to eat that is.
After an anaphylactic allergic reaction to scrambled eggs at 11 months of age, we started restricting and then reintroducing foods for fear of more allergies. Because of this, we (john and I) feel we may have helped our son to be a "picky" eater. He generally excepted most foods that toddlers and small children do. He always loved chicken nuggets, fruit, crackers, puffs, etc. We always thought he would grow out of the general "picky eating". Then in December jackson just decided he didn't want to eat. Foods that he had always eaten and loved, he rejected. As his food choices dwindled, his anxiety at meal times increased and we observed near panic attack behavior when he was asked to come to the table. For January and February jackson chose only Wendy's chicken nuggets, strawberry nutra grain-bars, and cinnamon morning sticks. We could use coke to bribe him occasionally to eat, but that was about it. Imagine my anxiety and stress over having a child who won't eat and can't express why he is so scared to think about new foods.
I found an amazing book by a wonderful author, and I feel like I finally have some answers and a resource to try to get help for jackson. Cheri Fraker CCC-SLP, CLC and her team have written a book called Food Chaining: The Proven 6-step plan to stop picky eating, solve feeding problems, and expand your child's diet. I read it from cover to cover in one night and LOVE what she has to say. We are taking it day by day with a plan from this book and trying to get jackson on a path to healthy, happy eating!
I would love any insight, advice, or just prayer about all of this and look forward to any other resources anyone may have.
(just on a side note though, we have tried EVERYTHING under the sun to get jackson to eat. Yes, we have offered rewards, tried charts, offered the same thing until he ate it(which he never did), let him go hungry to "break him", and even gently placed food INTO his mouth in attempts to prove that if he just tasted it he would like it.) All of which did not work and some of which was very detrimental to his progress.
The food chaining technique seems to make the most sense as I feel it is a processing issue coinciding with his expressive delays. But it is going painfully slow and the baby steps he is making aren't spilling over into accepting new foods yet.

All of this to be said, I am going to keep track of accepted foods, new foods tried, food ratings, so I can be the best mom to my son.
So if you have stopped by and are bored to tears, sorry. Hopefully there will be enough logan humor to outweigh the food therapy!

Thanks to my family and friends who love and support me! I couldn't do it without you.

2 comments: said...

i think this is a good way to keep up with it. you did forget to mention that he loves fruit, especially bananas... an i'm his dad, so i'm going to brag a little bit about his crazy intellect and photographic memory. i think a "first grade level" is not doing him justice for how intelligent he actually is. the child is phenomenal and his verbal skills are starting to catch up to his remarkable cognitive ability and and his seemingly normal social interaction. no doubt God made him 'special' so to speak, but not in a way that is going to limit his effect on this world in the future. i look forward to seeing what's in store for him... and do not fear anything on his behalf.

Robin Elizabeth said...

Thank you for posting! My 6 year old has expressive language disorder and feeding issues. He is very intelligent, sweet and laid back. He won't eat meat, veggies, drink milk and a ton of other things. I have started reading the book on food chaining and am curious to see if that is the answer for us.

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