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3 year old DTs not self feeding

(6 Posts)
deadwitchproject Thu 31-Dec-15 08:48:51

I feel like a total failure on this one just add it to the list

My DTs will be 3 next month and are still unable to feed themselves. I have tried so many times and it has resulted in meltdowns (them and me) and total food refusal. I know that other children with ASD can use a spoon and feed themselves, albeit with diet/sensory restrictions, so how have I managed to mess this one up?

I fed them with a spoon, mushed up food but a good variety of protein, fat and carbs, until they were 2 when a "friend" said she horrified that I was still treating them like babies. Looking back on it now she was spot on. I don't want anyone to judge them even more than they do because I've failed to teach them this necessary skill.

Gross motor skills are fine with DT2 and ok with DT1. Both will feed themselves hard snacks like rice cakes, bread sticks and toast with the crust cut off and cut in small squares. They can do it but refuse at breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is stressing me out so much!

Any advice? Even if it's just telling me to get a grip. TIA.

PolterGoose Thu 31-Dec-15 09:09:25

Some ideas:

Caring cutlery - advised by OTs, buy from a disability aids store and remember to declare so you don't pay VAT!

Ergonomic plates and bowls to make it easier. Even if the twins' motor skills are good it's worth removing any obstacles.

Make sure meals are easy to fork and spoon, pasta twists for example are almost impossible without good control.

Practise fine motor skills with tweezers, pegs and appropriate scissors.

Make sure the twins are seated well, right height, can rest their feet and feel secure.

Use play doh with cutlery and tools.

Offer a mix of finger foods, dippy things and easy to spoon foods.

Feed some meals but stop feeding them whatever their favourites are!

Backward chain the tasks, you do exactly what you've been doing but let the twins do the very last bit of the action, when they've mastered it take it back a step, and carry on, do it slowly and they'll barely notice.

deadwitchproject Thu 31-Dec-15 15:51:26

Thanks polter some excellent ideas there, particularly backward chaining.
Have a great New Year!

MrsBobDylan Thu 31-Dec-15 21:00:29

Really good advice from Polter but I'd just like to tell you that you have not failed, it's just that your dc are struggling to do something that children usually teach themselves. My 3 children all fed themselves by 2 but ds2 is still in nappies at 6 and eats a limited diet of utter shite.

I sometimes feel so frustrated and wonder why I haven't been 'successful' in these areas but it's, sadly, not really mine to decide.

So alongside giving Polters good advice a go, I think you should be lovely to your self and cast all thoughts of failure aside grin

PolterGoose Thu 31-Dec-15 21:19:19

Well said Bob smile

What I also failed to say is that despite my best efforts the only thing my ds eats with cutlery is spooning a yoghurt, his diet is very limited and nothing he eats requires cutlery. I don't consider it a failure, so please don't you either flowers

deadwitchproject Sat 02-Jan-16 10:23:24

Thank you both so much, you've brought a lump to my throat!

I'm not sure I will ever escape the mind set that I did something "wrong" therefore I have "failed" my DSs.

I will order the cutlery on Monday and start over with feeding. Thanks again flowers

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