When Sara was 4 she contracted encephalitis. After a major illness like this you can expect delays and health issues. Some residual problems were more of a surprise than others. Sara takes medication that help with her seizure disorder with the unwanted side effect of altering the way her food tastes. If we change a medications we often change her likes or dislikes of a particular food. Sara would LOVE baked Ziti in December, in January, after a medication change she might not.The next eating challenge she has is with her medical device, a Vagus Nerve Stimulator. It is a small pacemaker like device that sends a signal up to her Vagus Nerve in the brain, helping with seizure control. This signal then travels down through her bariatric system causing many of the food issues we now have. This signal will make Sara feel full or giver her indigestion. The device has settings which the doctor will increase over time. When the gastro-intestinal side effects started getting worse our doctor and our family thought we should hold off any increases in the Vagus Nerve Stimulator settings. Slowly we have been able to increase the setting on Sara’s device and slowly we have seen an improvement in her appetite. This can be rough on a Mom, the one who takes care of the family. Feeding difficulties are real issues for many families with or without children with special needs. Once I adjusted to the new challenge, breathed, and accepted that this would be one of the difficulties of the new device, I was able to focus on things that help Sara at 25 eat more, eat healthier, and gain improved health.

 

Sara is a social eater. She loves people, inviting friends over for lunch always helps her eat more. When we dine out buffets and salad bars are a great choice. There is no waiting, Sara can find foods that appeal to her visually. Sadly, it is fine to serve Sara the same thing over and over again. If she is not in the mood for a vegetable, sliced strawberries and bananas make a great dinner side dish, not just for breakfast. Feeding Sara before she is hungry helps. If she helps cook the meal it tastes better. Get some substitute cooks. Sara will not complain to friends or other family members about what they cook as easily as she can complain to Mom. When Sara’s Dad started making breakfast into animal shapes there was a huge increase in her interest in breakfast.

 

 

 

 

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When the going gets tough, the tough get help. I was lucky to attend a feeding conference presented by Ingrid Lucas of Lucas Speech Pathology in Warwick. She can offer advice that would apply directly to your family member. If your child receives special education services you might benefit from a feeding evaluation from your child’s speech teacher. Many students who have Autism need more than just the evaluation, many schools have speech therapists that are certified in feeding therapy .For more information about the services at Lucas Speech Pathology go to

http://www.lucasspeechpathology.com/

 

For more information about the Vagus Nerve Stimulator try http://us.cyberonics.com/en/vns-therapy/ .

 

Good luck, hope your family is eating healthier in no time. Lisa Bock

 

Washingtonville Soccer Shop 027

 

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