It's been no secret through the years that Colin has had difficulties when it comes to eating. When he was a newborn, he had a lot of difficulties sucking on the bottle so we had to count every ounce that he was eating. He actually did pretty well when it came to eating cereal and pureed foods but then the real difficulties started when we started trying to introduce table food. The reason why the difficulties started was because of the low muscle tone in his mouth. Since it was hard for him to chew, he avoided eating foods in which he would have to, so it was difficult to get him to try new things. When he was over a year old, we started seeing a feeding therapist at a clinic in North Jersey and while it had a great reputation, it wasn't a great fit for us. We took some time off and then started with a feeding therapist locally and we have seen so much progress since Colin first started working with her (well over a year ago now). Her approach is not forceful but she definitely pushes him and she is also loving but knows how to get him to work.
Most recently, Colin's therapist has made a lot of progress in getting Colin to eat a sandwich. It has been almost a 2 month process of working with the sandwich once a week. The hierarchy started with at first getting him comfortable with it being on the table and then eventually working up to getting him to take a bite. She uses "comfort" or "reward" foods after each bite (squeeze yogurt and fruit snacks) and then continues to push him to eat as much of the sandwich that he will tolerate. She also uses a lot of singing because he loves it so much so it is something he will work hard for.
Just this past week, she called me in to observe and show me that Colin is now at the point that he will pick up the sandwich himself and eat it independently (which he is SO PROUD to show us). He ate an entire half of a sandwich and aside from occasional assistance, he mostly did it by himself.
The goal now is to try and incorporate it at home or at school (which has been a challenge for me). When I try to incorporate it at home I get a LOT of resistance because all he tells me is that he doesn't want it. This past weekend I got him to willingly take one bit all by himself but then he wouldn't do any more. We will keep working though and hope to see even more progress as time goes by!