Matthew is a seven-year-old with eating problems. Sometimes he stares at the food for a long time without responding to his caregivers. After a while, he starts screaming and runs to his room. His parents have prepared food in different ways and nothing seems to work. They are becoming frustrated and worried that he will not get enough nutrients.
What to do
The most urgent step is to bring Matthew to a doctor and see if there are any health problems. Once that has been solved, the next step would be to start keeping a food record. The caregivers should write down which foods he refuses to eat, and write the colors, taste, combination, and texture of it. In a few weeks, a pattern will most likely come up. Serve only the food that fits Matthew’s preference, and only introduce new food slowly and gradually. The caregivers should eat the kind of food he refuses in front of him before introducing it to him. If the problems continue further, an Occupational Therapist would be needed.
Layla is an eight-year-old girl. She throws tantrums very often and without an apparent reason. For example, sometimes she is watching her favorite cartoon and suddenly starts crying and screaming. Her caregivers repeatedly ask her: “What’s wrong? What happened?” but she just keeps yelling.
What to do
Layla most likely doesn’t have the tools to express her emotions. Crying in front of the TV could just be her way of saying the volume is too loud. She is probably not confident in her language skills and is unable to express what she wants. The caretakers could try the system of Zones of Regulations. The training would be done best with an Occupational Therapist. When Layla starts crying, they can get down to her level, and show her different zones. Layla can just point to one to let them know what she’s feeling.