October 8, 2018
Today is Monday. We had a great weekend as far as eating goes. Saturday we had plans to go to the zoo. When Barclay woke up I did not honor his request of “Green Cup.” This is hard for me to do for several reasons. The first is I know him having his pediasure/milk combo guarantees calories in him, but also it is denying a mand. In ABA therapy, mands are basically requests. Because of Barclay’s lagging communication and social skills we try to honor as many mands as possible. That doesn’t mean we are simply giving him what he wants. We are honoring reasonable requests as a reward for using language appropriately. He wasn’t super thrilled but I wanted food in him. I made him bacon because it is one of his highly preferred foods and served it with raisins, a moderately preferred food and he ate pretty well.
For our trip to the zoo I made his lunch. When we go out I usually always pack a lunch to be certain he’ll have something to he will eat willingly. I made the standard mac and cheese and he ate it all while waiting to ride a train. We had a fun day at the zoo! He saw bears and alligators and more, but I think the train was his favorite.
In the afternoon Barclay went to the supermarket with me. This is something I have been doing a lot of lately. Previously it had been over a year since I had taken him. His behavior was difficult for me to manage, but thanks to the amazing improvement he’s made in ABA therapy, we now have so much fun shopping together and it’s so beneficial for him. First of all, it is a great educational opportunity. My blog A Trip to the Supermarket Can Be So Much More Than a Trip to the Supermarket! explains how I use shopping as an educational experience. But I realized there is also another very valuable angle, it is introducing him to tons of new foods! I talk and talk about all the foods we see. He gets a cookie from the bakery, we visit the lobster in the tank by the seafood, I point out new fruits and vegetables. It’s literally an unlimited and positive exposure to what he’s struggling with.
On Sunday I made spaghetti. This is a Tier III food for Barclay, meaning it’s one he used to eat but has regressed on. At dinner, he sat in his high chair between my husband and I and we were all eating spaghetti. Barclay was super willing to try it, but as soon as he put it in his mouth I could see he had a huge aversion. It was just flavor overload for his super sensitive sense of taste. I let him spit it out and gave him positive reinforcement for trying. I then got some plain noodles and mixed in a little butter and cheese and offered him rotating bites. Although he kept refusing the noodles with the sauce, he did keep eating the noodles without. He also had a few bites of meatball and some yogurt after. The thought process is this, you have to praise their attempts to try something new, even if they don’t swallow it. That was a giant step that he was willing to even put the bite in his mouth and waited for me to give him permission to spit it out.
So far I feel really optimistic about how our food program with Barclay is going. It is going be a long process and that’s okay. I’ll continue to take this at his pace and be positive and encouraging. I do still let him have his pediasure/milk a few times a day and he takes a multivitamin as his eating isn’t where it needs to be, but we will get there. I look forward the day food when becomes something he looks forward to and we can enjoy together.