Putting it in simple terms, Emma's feeding is a direct result of SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), and we believe that a lot of the things that she is doing is by habit and not actually learning from it. An example of this is the way that she licks her snakata biscuits. She does not particularly enjoy it, but it gives us pleasure seeing her interact with food, and she shuts down when doing it, but it is a habit with her. She is not tasting it, she is tolerating the behaviour.
There are 8 main senses, and these are:-
Emma is listed as severe because she is over or under what is considered normal behaviour in 6 out of 8 of these areas. Though with the taste, she could be over reacting and under reacting at the same time, creating even more confusion in her brain.
From all these observations, it has been decided to start Emma from the very basics of eating. Breaking it right down to the start and beginning again. The way the clinic likes to start is by seeing children who wont eat as having poor learning experiences with food. Many people do believe that eating is instinctual, but in reality, it is a learned behaviour. And unfortunately this is common in early and micro prems (so before 30 weeks and below 1kg). Feeding issues are normally presenting in children around 8 months of age, and unfortunately, most prem children are not seeing speech therapists or OT's at this stage in life, so the learning behaviour is not picked up as missing. (Shows another flaw in the health system).
OK - so enough of all that heavy mumbo jumbo. Emma is going to be taught to eat. Break it right down to the basics and start again. She is also going to learn about the physical properties of food. With intelligent children it helps them if they know and understand the physical structure of food and what will happen and feel like when in the mouth.
We were completely overwhelmed with information, but walked away feeling very positive and uplifted. We are in the right place for Miss Emma - and these people know what they are going to do and how to do it. Tomorrow is a fairly easy day with an OT assessment, but after that, the days are going to be long and tiring with lots of feeding therapy, OT and speech. Not to mention food classes.