Please, my Mommy wish these days is to just please eat a PB&J! It would make school lunch so much better. If my kid would eat a PB&J it would be easier (not to mention nutritious) to take a snack or a meal to go. Right now our only sandwich is a gluten-free cheese sandwich. Which, if he is eating right after it is cooked, is somewhat appetizing. But after it has sat in a sealed container for 4 hours, it's kind of past its prime....
PB&J is our first goal at Food School. Yes, in Santa Fe we are lucky enough to have such forward thinking therapy as Food School. No really, it is a blessing. But I'm stretching the truth a little. His first food goal is not PB&J as I hoped it would be but it is just PB. No bread, no jelly, no layering, no 'to toast or not to toast'. No jelly variations.....I realize after his first 3 Food School visits, that PB&J is going to have to remain on the back burner as a long term goal. Right now, we are only looking at PB.
At Food School he and his therapist Julie, work on experiencing food. Yes, for those of you who may be squirmish at applesauce-in-the-hair kind of therapy, Food School is not your thing....They experience food in ways you probably never thought of. It is an approach for the sensory sensitive individual, which Calder is. They tap food on their teeth, lick it, spit out 'rockets', crinkle it near their ear, smell etc. Whatever the kid may do with their food the poor therapist has to do as well, to reinforce. Playing with your food is a necessary developmental experience on the path to eating. Some kids breeze right through it, some kids avoid it. There is a timeline to eating food and the very last step is actually swallowing it. So Calder's therapist helps him along that long road he must travel in order to, at the end hopefully, take a bite and swallow it without gagging.
Calder loves his therapist. She is spectacular. She builds 'Peanut Butter Gardens' for him. A peanut butter garden is a spoonful of peanut butter on a white paper plate with a few broken pieces of graham cracker pieces standing up in it. He loves the graham crackers, and when he eats one, he inadvertantly eats some residual peanut butter. Don't get me wrong, he knows he's eating it. He could sense a PB molecule...He eats a graham cracker bit and Julie makes over him, falls on the floor. (Don't tell BC/BS). This is great therapy! Now he has officially 'eaten' peanut butter! He loves making us all surprised. I take a video on my phone for later.
Generalization is a whole other issue. For Calder, as with many others with Autism, they may learn a new skill in one environment, but not be able to generalize it to other environments. This means Calder is willing to eat peanut butter gardens in therapy, but not at home. He has not eaten a peanut butter garden at home, even though I have made sure to present the exact same brand of PB and crackers as Julie does. I have set it out many times, with no expectation and no pressure. And I realize that this is just the beginning. After he conquers and generalizes PB, then we start with jelly.....it's a long road ahead.