So I am officially giving up home-based feeding therapy. My child will starve himself rather than eat pizza without pepperoni. He cried last night when I asked him to try a french fry. Going to other friend's houses is dicey: if they have little tiny ones I can usually count on there being something for Sam to eat, but otherwise I haul in my own food for him, mostly consisting of macaroni and cheese packets.
The constant fighting to try to get him to try new foods is exhausting, and it doesn't seem to be working. I've tried "chaining" food, and we make no progress. We were making some good progress with tolerating new vegetables on the plate, but it pretty much stopped there. I could get him up to licking the new food but no further.
It's the anxiety around food that is worrisome to me. He's not just picky--he has a clearly defined set of allowable and non-allowable foods, and attempts to add to that list bring about some pretty severe reactions. I know that lots of parents think you can just ask them to try a new food and as long as you keep presenting it that everything will work out, but dude. We are not there. We haven't been there. We've been working towards that for like, four years. And I. Give. Up. I am out of my depth with this.
Sam has an evaluation for occupational therapy in May, and they assured me that feeding therapy can be part of that. I've always thought he doesn't have sensory issues informing his feeding problems, because texture doesn't seem to be a problem for him. But there is something off about his reaction to food, and man. I just want someone professional to either say "This is all in your head, he's a picky eater and he'll grow out of it and he's fine" or "Yeah, you're right, he needs some help with this issue and here are the tactics we can use to help him."
Part of having a kid with special needs is you start to see everything through the special needs filter. Is he just a picky eater who gets dramatic about being asked to try new foods or does he have Food Issues? Is he just a kid who laughs at things that aren't that funny or is it Inappropriate Laughter? Does he just like to dance and contort his body or is he Having Sensory and Proprioceptive Issues? Sometimes I feel like I don't even know what "normal" looks like anymore.
I'm really looking forward to getting him into OT so we can figure out what we need to work on with him and what is just a normal part of being four.