I had planned to continue on talking about inclusion today more formally, until I received a note from Colin's teacher about something exciting that happened at school yesterday. Then I decided to switch gears and go with the flow when I realized that it all has to do with inclusion anyway.
Despite having some difficulties with drinking from a bottle as a newborn, Colin still progressed through early foods quite normally when it was time to start with baby food. We noticed, though, that he did not like some of the typical baby snacks that most kids ate like cheerios or puffs. We hit a halt when we started to introduce the stage 3 foods (which I am not even sure are even made anymore). We were able to get him to eat some types of table food like pastina and cottage cheese but we struggled to get him to move beyond those soft foods.
One of our speech therapists through Early Intervention referred us to a feeding clinic in North Jersey that we worked with for over a year but made very little progress with. We felt a lot of it had to do with the forceful approach that was utilized to get Colin to eat. We took a break from it for awhile and saw tiny bits of progress with time. He had more willingness to try different foods but we still were stuck with his eating cottage cheese and strawberries for three meals a day.
We finally started therapy again a clinic closer to our home with a therapist who has been FANTASTIC. Through the past 2 years, Colin has slowly tried different foods and has even added new foods to his rotation. He no longer eats cottage cheese 3 meals a day, but has added in some choices with dinner. We find that he is more likely to try new foods if he is curious about what we are eating when we eat at times that are not at the dinner table formally as a family. For example, the other night, he ate quite a bit of Chinese food that Chris and I were eating much later than the other 2. He is now eating (regularly) pasta with sauce, pizza, perdue chicken nuggets with strawberries, ice cream, yogurt, sandwich (regular white bread) with various lunch meats, and pancakes.
Yesterday in Colin's notebook, there was a note that said:
"FYI: A lot of kids were buying today and he said he was too...we let him and he did great AND he ate the pizza and drank the milk (skim). The fruit was apples so he didn't want it but _ and _ said he did great!"
He wanted to do what the other kids were doing, and he did! It was so exciting for Chris and I to receive this type of note because of the years of difficulties we have had with Colin's eating. While we still have a long ways to go, this was HUGE! I guess now I actually have to start looking at the lunch menu instead of throwing it right in the garbage!