The Daughter Chronicles

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Yet more stuff about Mia's eating (or lack thereof)

We had a meeting with Mia's teachers and the school nurse last week about her eating issues. It's not the first time and it's not the last time we'll do this sort of thing, but that's just life with Mia, isn't it?

As I wrote recently, she weighs not quite 41 pounds at she's 4 feet tall. That ain't good. So we've been trying to get her to eat more, which is what we've been doing for several years. They've been telling us that she's not eating well, and all throughout September, they kept track of the calories she consumed, and she never broke 500. As she should probably have 1400-1600 a day, that's a problem. So we had a meeting to come up with some strategies to get more food in her.

The biggest problem with the school is the lack of aides. Mia's classroom, with ten special needs kids in it, has a teacher and two aides in it. According to her IEP, Mia should have an aide with her at all times. With three teachers in the class, that's not completely possible all the time. I was giving them a month to hire another aide, and now that it's October, we're bugging them about it. The TBI specialist for Mesa schools told me that they hired someone and they just need to clear her fingerprints, so that's good news. The reason Mia needs an aide is because she has some issues staying focused (surprise, surprise). When it comes to eating, she needs someone to bug her about it. And for that, she needs her own aide!

What they have been doing with her is bringing the food and drink to her and offering it to her. That's just not going to work, as Mia is, quite frankly, a pain in the butt. So she just tells them she doesn't want any, and they don't push it. So we told them they need to do one of two things:

1. Get a table to put next to her and put her food and drink on it. When she's at home, she sits in her chair with her milk on a tray, and she usually does pretty well at drinking it. If you keep the milk next to her, she'll often drink it herself, and it's also much easier to tell her to pick it up and drink it.

2. Get her to drink the milk (which has 355 calories in one small box, the size of a juice box) in a short period of time, like 30 minutes or less. She can do it, although she doesn't like to do it. If they can do that twice a day, she doesn't have to do a lot of eating the rest of the day, and anything else they can get in her is gravy. It will probably be a bit more stressful than option 1, but it also will get it out of the way much sooner.

Now, the thing she needs is a tough aide. The woman who has been assigned to her is a sweet woman, and I told her a few times on Friday that she needs to be tougher (I did it as nicely as possible, of course). Mia doesn't respond well to pleading, as I believe most kids don't. She needs someone to tell her what to do in a forceful voice (without yelling, of course, because more than most kids, she goes to pieces pretty quickly if you yell at her and it's very hard for her to calm down), and her aide needs to work on that. I hope she does.

We discussed some other things, like how she needs to stand in her stander more (to stretch her out a bit and give gravity a chance to work on her bowels - we think part of why she doesn't eat too well is because she's constipated and doesn't feel good because she needs to get the poop out), but it was mostly about her eating habits. It was a pretty good meeting - we've always had good relationships with her teachers and school therapists - and we're hoping it helps. We do have an appointment with a child psychologist next week, and there are other options with behavioral therapists before we have to put a G-tube in her stomach, so we'll see where it goes. I really don't want to put a G-tube in her. That would suck. But we live in hope, don't we?