Gains in therapy, any therapy, are built on a foundation of trust. The best way I have found to build trust is to go SLOW. The majority of children I see in the clinic have little to no control over what they can do. They are limited by external (adults) or by internal (limited mobility) forces. When parents come to me, I give my speech explaining why feeding therapy is a slow process: “Your child has to trust me. I need to touch their face, go in their mouths, pull and tug. I’m going to introduce foods to them. This maybe no big deal or it may be the most negative thing in their life at the moment.”
I’ll give the example of the dentist: “Most people do not like going to the dentist. Why? because he is in your mouth, pulling, tugging. You have no control over when you can close your mouth, when you can swallow. It is scary. Then there is the noises – the drill, the suction.”
Initially therapy can be the same thing. Especially feeding therapy. A vibrating toy to the face and mouth can be like a drill. A NUK brush like a suction machine. It is all new and very different. When I can build trust, and the child knows I am not going to do anything harmful, we have progress. And we make progress faster, happier and easier then if I had gone straight to the mouth.