By Jim M. (Evan's Father)
“Evans’ eating program is a great success!
Evan is an 8-year-old boy who is completely non-verbal but is currently making great strides in his therapy programs. He attends the Indianapolis North Applied Behavior Center for Autism and late last year they started him on a food program to try and increase his food intake, both in quantity and type (especially the types of food). None of the new food items would he ever even try, we couldn’t even get them anywhere near his mouth. Prior to this program, Evan would eat yogurt, bananas, Kraft Mac N Cheese, some deli meat (Oscar Meyer Delifresh), goldfish crackers, Pringles, teddy grahams, Kraft Singles Cheese, applesauce, pudding, hot dogs and Club crackers. Obviously not a great assortment!
ABC started a food program in which he was required to start his lunch with the new item in increasing amounts daily. There are 5 steps to the plan and he needs to successfully complete each one before progressing on to the next one. At the end he is eating a full serving of the respective food item. We were told originally that the program has had successes previously. Not at the rate of success for their potty training program (100% success rate) but successes just the same.
We started with Bread—a simple piece of bread. SUCCESS! His program coordinator at the time, Karen, was thrilled with the result. His other program coordinators, Emily and Michelle, have kept the program going. Actually she said that Evan was probably the fastest to complete the initial attempt as any she had seen. His success continued when we tried gummy bears. Not really a food item but we wanted to give Evan vitamins to hopefully offset his minimal food intake. Success!
The program continued with the same success almost every time. The only item he would not eat was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Actually he would eat it, but make funny faces, almost disgusting faces like he really didn’t like the taste. We have mastered every other item since then. We have almost had a tough time coming up with new items to try.
Evan now eats pineapple, mandarin oranges, grapes, strawberries and apples for fruit intake. He will also eat watermelon, regular oranges, cantaloupe, and other berries and melons, through the generalization of the food. Vegetables he conquered include corn, red peppers, and carrots, which is his “preferred” snack item now. We have been able to add chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, brats, and even pepperoni pizza. Now we can get him a double cheeseburger and a large fries from McDonalds and he will eat it all. Don’t get in the way as this may be his favorite meal. He has also eaten cheeseburgers from other locations as well. Other food successes include cupcakes, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies (he wouldn’t eat any of those dessert items ever before), orange juice, pancakes, blueberry muffins, and even a grilled cheese sandwich.
To say we are thrilled with Evan’s eating habits is a huge understatement. We no longer have to take his food with us everywhere we go, as there is almost always something he will eat on any menu. He is not as particular as to whether or not it is actually Kraft Mac n cheese but will eat any pasta and cheese, even the spiral noodles. Any cheese will now be ok—even string cheese. We couldn’t be happier with the successful food program at ABC.”