I always tell my students that we live in a fantastic area of the country for medical care. My students and I are literally a 20-40 minute drive to Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, Children's National Medical Center, the National Institute of Health, Mercy Hospital, Sinai Hospital, and Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Recently, in class, my college students and I were talking about feeding disorders - disorders that include either not eating at all, the inability to eat (or swallow), the refusal to eat certain textures, and tube feeding. One of my students, K, had tremendous experience with feeding disorders as her sibling experienced feeding disorders as a child.
K suggested a practical activity to help children with feeding disorders become more accustomed to solid food and eating. She said she learned the activity at Kennedy Krieger's Feeding Disorders Program - which is world-renowned for their feeding disorders care and training. In a five minute time span, encourage the child to:
- Touch the food five times.
- Pick up the food five times.
- Kiss the food five times.
- Lick the food five times.
It sounds like a game, doesn't it? If the child doesn't choose to eat the food after that exposure in five minutes, then K was taught to move on and take a break from encouraging eating (or accept the child is not hungry at the moment).
I was wondering if the "five times" strategy might be helpful to kids without feeding disorders, too. Kids who are either picky eaters or hesitant to try new foods.
What do you think?