Parent training program to expand the food repertoire of children with sensory feeding disorders
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Purpose: The study aimed to determine if an eight-week parent-training program would be effective in expanding the food repertoire of 3-6 year old children with sensory feeding disorders. The aspects in question were whether this program was realistic for implementation into the daily life of parents of children with feeding disorders, the extent to which integrating activities before snack time would desensitize the child to undesired foods, and how parental support during food exploration would encourage the addition of new foods into the child's repertoire. Method: The investigator trained three parent participants to complete three activities before three different snack times each week for eight weeks. Each parent chose 9 target foods to be targeted during the program. The investigator provided guidance to each parent for how to encourage food exploration of these target foods during the three snack times. Parent participants reported which activities were completed, which foods were targeted, the level of exploration reached with each food, the parent's level of stress, and the success of the session on a data sheet for each snack time. The investigator met with each parent once a week to gather the data sheets and discuss each child participant's progress. Results: Participant 1 completed 24 sessions but did not acquire any of the 9 target foods into his repertoire. Participant 2 completed 24 sessions, added 1 new food to his repertoire, and will tolerate 2 additional target foods. Parent participants 1 and 2 reported that this program is realistic for their households. Participant three completed ten of the 24 sessions and did not acquire any new foods. Parent participant three reported that the program is not practical for implementation into her lifestyle. Parental level of stress and perceived success of the session were both dependent on the highest level of exploration that the child reached for each session. Conclusions: The ability to carry out the program at home was determined by the parent participant’s organizational skills and commitment to the program. Participating in three sessions a week was more beneficial than one session, or three sessions plus two private feeding therapy sessions.