Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Baby Food

It’s rained in Cali today for the first time since I arrived in Colombia. While I normally abhor rain as my mood tends to coincide with it, today I was quite thankful for it. Not because it was relief for dry fields like the scarce rain has been at home this summer, but because it allowed me to have a long sleeve shirt handy to change into so I wouldn’t have to ride the bus home wearing a shirt covered in pureed vegetables…

I spent breakfast, lunch and two snack times working with kids on feeding skills today. I realize a little more each day how important those skills are and how many of my OT sessions will likely focus on self-feeding and oral-motor skills to meet the needs of the Chiquitines kids.

Some of the kids have delays in feeding themselves simply because they have never been introduced to the task.  In most institutions, caregivers lack time to allow each child to explore and learn to feed him or herself, and the little ones end up getting fed spoonful by spoonful until they’re long past the age most children attain independent feeding.

Other children have difficulty with feeding due to oral motor delays. I worked with one such little girl today. She is seven months old and consistently has trouble coordinating her mouth movements and generating enough lip closure to keep food in her mouth. With a few important pressure points to help with lip closure and lots of patience, she was able to tolerate feeding while sitting upright in a highchair today in a way that was probably much more enjoyable to her compared to the usual rushed and force-fed mealtime. This little girl happened to be the main culprit of the food-covered shirt… Good thing she was so adorable!

All in all, despite the necessary change of clothes, today was another good day. Last week I got pooped on by both a bird and a baby in the same day, so baby food was definitely a step in the right direction :)

-Abby