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Food Selectivity Action Plan

(103 Posts)
MareeyaDolores Tue 26-Mar-13 21:58:35

Ok, been to the EABG conference today. One presenter described a 4 child trial of strategies to help fussy eaters. You use 3 foods, 1 new one and 2 they like. New food 12 mini-blobs per session, old ones 6 mini-blobs each. Total 24 mini-blobs. This is done just before a mealtime.

3 intensities of approach, they start with the easiest, and only move up if it doesn't work. I'm going to call the levels Bronze Silver Gold

15 min before meal, you present a plastic plate with a teeny-tiny 'target food' blob on, and leave it there for 5 seconds. Don't worry whether dc eats it or not, the magic is in just plonking it down. Repeat 24 times (always finish on a 'liked' food). This worked a treat on 1 or 2 of the dc.

Silver is the same, but add a reinforcer (praise?) for each bite

Gold is plonking it down + reinforcer + escape extinction (basically that if they scream, throw it, run away etc, you retrieve the dc / food / ignore shrieks and present it again. They still don't have to eat, but do have to cope with looking at it for the required 5 seconds. Repeat 24 times with the 24 mini-bites.

MareeyaDolores Fri 29-Mar-13 18:21:16

Also got a bag of Pom bears for the bribe preferred food condition.

MareeyaDolores Fri 29-Mar-13 18:25:00

What I didn't say, was that success often came after the child had spent several mealtimes just looking at the 'target food' mini-blob. I can't remember what the maximum was, but I got the impression that persistence (in the face of initial failure) was the key skill to master.

zzzzz Fri 29-Mar-13 18:28:28

Ok, explain again.
I set up all the blobs out of sight.

I present a blob firmly without comment

I wait five seconds looking nonchalant.

If he touches the blob I give him an extra five seconds in case he is moved to scoff it.

I remove plate without comment and present the next random blob.

What do I do if he pushes the plate away and says "no"?

When do I start prompting, "just bite it"?

Do I explain the rules first?

zzzzz Fri 29-Mar-13 18:30:13

Do I start or finish with an acceptable food?

Do I keep going working on one new food or try different non-acceptable foods on successive days?

MareeyaDolores Fri 29-Mar-13 20:09:21

Ok, the 'target food' stays the same till you've done a lot of trials (Not sure of exact number). The 'saying no' etc you just completely ignore. Always finish with a preferred food. The other foods are presented in random order. Though I can see a benefit to having a preferred food for the first bite, sort of gets them going grin. I didn't really understand about when to use prompting. But then, for us, verbal 'command' prompting is often not very helpful (and I'd rather crack the food thing before trying to sit at the table addressing the demand avoidance / control issues of all 3 dc simultaneously)

I foolishly broke the 'target food stays the same for lots of trials' rule in my initial excitement re apricot success blush. And of course then dh, having witnessed the lack of lunchtime success today, said its a stupid idea and wouldn't let me do it at tea time <sigh>. So it's back to <fingers crossed> successful apricots/Nutella/ cheese before their porridge tomorrow, I think, and will stick with that before introducing the next item.

zzzzz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:17:13

thanks my Dh is utterly unhelpful about such things. It is very annoying.

MareeyaDolores Fri 29-Mar-13 20:39:27

Yep. And of course, im kicking myself cos if I'd let him see the apricot thing, he'd still have thought I was nuts, but would've humoured me in my madness.

zzzzz Fri 29-Mar-13 22:40:01

Ignore him, he has no vision. wink

I have to say I'm looking forward to it. I may make tick charts to track progress. <geek alert>

Tacal Sat 30-Mar-13 11:59:55

ds is scared of crisps. A psychologist said I shouldnt let it continue to be a big issue because it can make life very difficult if he starts refusing to go anywhere where there are crisps eg parties.

Do you think it would be a good idea or bad idea to make crisps, well a tiny bit of a crisp, the target food?

Would appreciate any thought you have on this because I dont want to make things any worse.

Thank you x

AnotherAlias Sat 30-Mar-13 12:27:35

Could you get back in touch with the psychologist and ask him.her what they had in mind for preventing it becoming an issue?

Also - do you need him to eat crisps? - or just to tolerate being in the same room as them or have them on the table where he is sitting?

I have no expertise in this, I can only tell you about my ds who used to go 'into one' if something 'disliked' was on his plate. This made eating anywhere other than home a risky business as there were only about 7 "likes" Anyway after another embarrassing exit from a cafe...

When he was about nine we explained and he agreed that this was not how he wanted to be - and that this lettuce leaf / onion what ever wasn't going to physically harm him and no-one was going to force him to eat it - he could see the logic of this, so that was half (but only half) the battle.
We practiced at home -very slowly getting him to sit near the offending item, then building up to having something on a side plate while he ate his dinner and eventually to having a teeny bit on his own plate as long as it wasn't touching his own food. However I am not sure If we are "right" though as he still struggles to eat more than a few foods and we completely ignored the idea of him even touching the food - only recently we have discovered this is an issue - he won't take part in cooking lessons at school....
so that's something else we need to tackle

Tacal Sat 30-Mar-13 14:17:18

Hi AnotherAlias, thank you for sharing this with me. You have done a great job of teaching your ds to tolerate being around foods he does not like. Well done and thank you for sharing your experience with me.

You are right, I had forgotten that I do not need ds to eat crisps. Just to be around them. I will focus on this for now and work up to him tolerating them being on the table while he is eating. I can phone the psychologist for advice. She had suggested he play with crisps to get used to the feel and crunchy sound but he is not willing to do this at the moment.

Good luck to everyone who is trying this action plan.

zzzzz Sat 30-Mar-13 15:28:57

What about playing with them inside a ziplock bag?

Tacal Sat 30-Mar-13 18:12:58

good idea, zzzzz! Will give this a try.

babiki Sat 30-Mar-13 19:19:09

Really interesting, thank you for sharing.

How woudl you do it, if the child does not feed himself - he is capable physically, but does not want to? Only finger feeds certain crisps and biscuit..should I just give it in from of him anyway?

Also, he would throw any plates (we use plastic only anyway), would it defy the point to give the bits of food straight on his tray? Thinking about it, he would probablt throw it all out as well - but just touching new stuff could be good.

He actually touched a cucumber last week for the first time, it only took 6 months of offering in preschool smile))

zzzzz Sat 30-Mar-13 19:51:16

I'd give it without the plate. One step at a time, plates can come later.

Tacal Sun 31-Mar-13 10:26:02

If ds picks up the target food, puts it in his mouth but spits it out and says he does not like it. Do I move onto a new target food or keep trying with the same one?

MareeyaDolores Sun 31-Mar-13 21:08:17

Tacal, I think the official approach is carry on, while considering patting yourself on the back for achieving the milestone of 'tasting it' grin

Obviously, some discretion may be called for if they seem to be allergic. Or if you've made an error with target food choice eg sprouts or something that most dc seem to genuinely hate wink

MareeyaDolores Sun 31-Mar-13 21:20:25

I couldn't do apricots as planned (couldn't find the packet before breakfast, and we were with family for lunch). So did butter / bread / microscopic sliver raw tomato with 2 dc. Dd licked it grin.

Something odd followed... after i gave them the last butter blob they both looked at me in a very defiant/triumphant sort of way.... and insisted on trying the unfamiliar soup, ie not a target food, I think they were trying some sort of bizarre double bluff on me grin.

MareeyaDolores Sun 31-Mar-13 21:25:54

Babiki, he only finger feeds a few crisps? I'm wondering whether broadening the crisp-type repertoire would be a sensible first target?

Pom bears / walkers / tortilla chips / mini cheddars / breadsticks etc.

MareeyaDolores Sun 31-Mar-13 21:29:05

Tacal, would he tolerate a fragment of soggy crisp in the bath?

MareeyaDolores Sun 31-Mar-13 21:30:00

Actually, bad idea <bath phobia risk>

Watching this thread with interest, not yet ready to try it though.

I will have to think what I would start on; he likes strawberry yoghurts, but won't eat strawberries - a blob of strawberry? Doesn't seem too risky...

Cheese? Banana? I think I would go along with the chocolate spread/Nutella as the preferred option, I do think it will remain recognisable even as a tiny blob.

Sorry, just thinking out loud, will keep reading, everyone's input is helpful and clarifies what I have to do <dopey>

MareeyaDolores Tue 02-Apr-13 20:40:17

Complete disaster
2 dc out of 3 now switched to total defiant non-compliance screaming and throwing the mini-blobs, then refusing their main courses

the other moans, declines to comply with the 'stupid game' but actually eats most of it as he's always liked his food

and of course DH has mutinied as well

Think I need 'escape extinction' confused but tonight I just shouted, cleared the table, and put them all to bed, hungry or not blush

MareeyaDolores Fri 05-Apr-13 00:18:53

Update:

'Escape extinction' achieved from weds breakfast time by strapping ds2 in chair, and by telling dd that sanctions might include wardrobe restrictions.

Dropped the '24 morsels' for now (ABA-ing myself, by making this more achievable wink, hopefully will get 'fluent' and can then up my game) so am still presenting a mini-first course for each meal with something they like, plus a less favoured or unfamiliar food eg the apricots.

Dd is sort-of complying, will taste when I insist though often the teensiest bit, along with exaggerated and unconvincing gagging pantomimes grin. Ds2 has been more of a challenge hmm. DS1 has moaned a lot about the Total Stupidity of Mum's Pointless Ideas, and this has perhaps distracted him from realising he's eaten almost everything.

zzzzz Fri 05-Apr-13 01:02:50

As a food related but non blob related aside, ds nearly accidentally ate a kidney bean today. Dispite very limited language he was able to communicate his disappointment and disgust at its presence on his plate with his masterful rejection. grin

I await blob war with renewed enthusiasm.

Mareeya what about offering three liked foods til they are back on board with the plan?

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