Saturday, April 5, 2008

Small steps versus mini-steps

About 2 weeks ago we met with Matt’s speech therapist who has experience with children who have feeding difficulties. It was a helpful session where she was able to point out what we need to do to get Matt to tolerate texture and to learn to chew. First: use a baby tooth brush (it looks more like a small stick with a textured rubber top) to rub Matt’s gums. Second: use the Lateral Feeding Technique of popping a small bit of very chewable food into Matt’s cheek between his gums thereby helping Matt to learn how to chew whilst avoiding the gag sensitive middle and back part of the mouth. “Easy!” I thought – “I can do this”.

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.


Myssie said...

Oh yes, the "mini-steps"! We know about those too! Matt will get better with it, I am sure. All in good time my friend.

Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

taking the same mini steps right behind you!

Carina said...

I am sorry, I just had to laugh! What we won't do to get them to do what we want them to. As you said, mini steps.
My son doesn't have RTS, he is severely disabled, functions at age of 6 week old child BUT I have also followed many of the steps you did, and it is like dejavu reading your posts. Holding thumbs!