Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Addressing Feeding Issues for Children with Down Syndrome

Another lost post...

Finally putting up some notes from the seminar that I attended at CHOC in May.  These notes are for use in addition to the handouts as I didn't want to redo what was already written up.
  • It's okay to play with your food
    • Make it fun and enjoyable
    • If they will tolerate it on their hands, they will more likely tolerate it in their mouths
  • Start offering a variety of textures early on
  • Hypotonicity causes our kids to have to work that much harder to activate the movement (for feeding or play) and so they fatigue that much quicker.
  • Tapping (pinpoint instead of broad touch) their face may work better for our kids because of the hyposensitivity.  Typical kids might prefer the broad stroke, but our kids often crave more input than that provides and the finger tip provides that.
  • Metal spoons: Use two and have one in cold water and the other in warm water.  Alternate between them to wake the mouth up.  You can do the same with sour & sweet tastes and spicy & mild.  Other good things are cinnamon extracts, peppermint extracts and pixie sticks.
  • Kids like to have control so give them choices between two things that both meet your goal...example: if you are trying to work on textures you can give them the choice of vanilla pudding or chocolate pudding or for chewing it could be between the green chewy tube or the red chewy tube.
  • Use of token system for rewards: small reward of sticker at each successful task completion and they add up to one larger reward (playing in the ball pit) if they get 5 stickers.
  • No grazing between meal times - research shows that children take in less total calories when they graze.  3 main meals with 2 snacks is a good plan.
  • Straws & whistles are great for getting the tongue back where it belongs and working on lip closure
It was a great seminar and I'm thankful for DSAOC & CHOC for putting it on!

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