Monday, 12 March 2012

I said PLAY with your food!

I watched an interview on MORNINGS with a mother and her 5 year old daughter who has never eaten food. This girl, born premmie, developed sensory issues and is over sensitive to textures of food. Having always been fed through tube and a bottle the child recently went to the US to participate in a sensory program to be desensitised to food. As part of the program she played with food, used weighted therapy and learned to tolerate different textures, smells … but not yet tastes. 

Many children are fussy eaters. My daughter went through a phase of only eating warm food - except of course cold ice cream! 

A lot of parents could benefit from great ideas such as:
  • Allow your child to play with food they don’t like, with no pressure to eat.
  • Have a testing plate beside them at meal times. This is a separate plate to the one they are eating from. This gets kids used to seeing different foods and considering the idea of eating them. 
This hyper-sensitivity can occur with other senses too, not just taste and texture but sounds, lights or the feeling of certain clothing (like how that tag on the back of a new shirt can be annoying for me, but for a child with sensory issues – the irritation is a lot more intense). My husband and I always argue when the fan is on over the hot plates at dinner time… or could it just be that he is in-the-wrong at most meal times?!

The way to assist children with dealing with such hyper-sensitivity is to have a good sensory diet. 
  • Swinging, jumping & rolling an exercise ball over a child with touch sensitivities can be soothing. 
  • Putting something heavy (like a heat pack) on the lap of a child while they do homework can be calming. 
  • Taking time to focus on sounds and playing with instruments can help children with noise difficulties. 
  • And wearing sunglasses is useful for light sensitivities, as well as good sun protection. 

Everything always links back to food for me, so at afternoon tea time make the kids ice-cold and thick smoothies to suck through a straw. It’s great for kids with sensitivities and good fun too! 

peanut butter and jam smoothie
from the book: 500 juices and smoothies by Christine Watson

1 frozen ripe banana
1 teaspoon strawberry jam
1 tablespoon peanut butter
120 ml plain low fat yoghurt
60 ml of milk
a few ice cubes

Put all ingredient into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve immediately.
The frozen banana and ice make it even thicker and a more intense sensory experience.

This is a fun clip to watch about the texture crunchy.

And you can find heaps more ideas here.

Holly Treechange

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