Ian's appointment went very well. The therapist was great!
She first had Ian try some of her food: dried mango, strawberries, blueberries, and peas. He put each one in his mouth! This was a big deal! He did not eat them, but he did try them. Next, she had him try some of the foods I brought: peas, rice and spiral noodles. Again, he tried them all! And not just one pea, but 5 or 6! Of course, he did spit those out too, but at least he attempted. One new food he did enjoy was peanut butter. He had never tried it alone, but he ate at least a good tablespoon for her with some graham crackers. He tried it again once we got home with animal crackers. He ate something new...for me!
The therapist concluded that Ian does not have an issue with textures. His interest in food and desire to try things today supports that idea. However, she thinks he does not understand what to do with the food once it's in his mouth, hence the hesitation. In other words, he does not know how to chew his food. The time when most kids start chewing is around 10 months of age...right when Ian had his palate repair. She does not think this is the only reason, but could be a big factor.
For now, we have 4 things to work on:
1. Encourage Ian to eat foods, both new and old tastes
2. Teach Ian to chew --Show him, with mouth open, how we chew.
3. Praise any progress, no matter how small
4. Use a NUK chewing "device"--It is something about the size of a toothbrush that Ian can chomp on to teach up and down chewing.
I hope to be able to see some more progress soon, but just the fact that he did try new things made my eyes tear up. It's been so hard getting him to try anything. Now that I know the source of the problem, I hope I can help him learn to love food.