Armed with these steps I returned home to put them into action immediately. I bought a baby tooth brush and tried to rub Matt’s gums – NOT A CHANCE. He wriggled out of my reach, pushed the brush away whilst vigorously turning his face from me. He would not let me near his mouth regardless of how much I begged, pleaded, forced, or cajoled.
Later we tried the Lateral Feeding Technique – as soon as my finger slid in along Matt’s gums he GAGGED and proceeded to VOMIT all food that he had consumed in the previous 5 hours.
I am learning that what seems like a small step is actually a big step. I have to find the tiny mini-steps between where Matt is now and that “small step”. So our first mini step was to make friends with the toothbrush and play with it. The second mini step was to let Matt put it in his mouth. He was a lot more welcoming of the toothbrush when it was on his terms. Third is to dip this toothbrush in his favourite pureed fruit and offer it to him as if it were a spoon. Then he is very eager to endure it in his mouth, once even allowing me to slide it along the side of his gum. As for the Lateral Feeding, I’ve put that on hold until he can better tolerate foreign objects in his mouth. I’m hoping the toothbrush process will help with that.
We are returning to the Speech Therapist on Monday where she is eager to help me work out other potential mini-steps that will slowly move us towards that first small step.