Personalized Photo Plates For Kids

Hi! I’m Amy, aka One Artsy Mama, and if you’ve never stopped by my little corner of the blogging world, let me just tell you that the absolute light of my life is my five year old Little Crafter. {I have an awesome hubby too, but our little man positively melts my heart!} He’s amazingly creative, super-smart especially in reading and math, and has lots of strengths. But, like anyone else, he also has his challenges. In his particular case, the challenges take the form of some sensory processing issues, most of which revolve around food. He has a very limited list of foods he’s willing to eat, is only willing to eat in a handful of specific environments, and is very sensitive to the smells of what others are eating.

It took us a long time to figure out that the sensory issue was going on; even our pediatrician kept telling us he would grow out of his picky phase and didn’t seem to think anything was abnormal. Once he started school, though, the issues became more pronounced to the point where he’d get physically sick sometimes when he smelled the other kids’ lunches. Fortunately, several other parents we know whose kiddos deal with similar challenges pointed us in the right direction, and a good friend of ours happens to be an OT specializing in feeding. We met with Katie for the first time back in November, and with the help of a very special plate, made some incredible progress.

Personalized Kids Plate

For LC’s feeding sessions, the initial goal is to get him to experiment, observe, and yes…play with his food! Apparently there are more than 30 different steps to eating, and Katie’s job is to come up with a systematic way of introducing him to various foods and helping him walk through as many of those steps with each one as possible. She sets up a plate with the target foods for the day in a particular sequence. She and LC each have a plate as well, and she transfers the food to them one item at a time to be experienced. Little Crafter was pretty willing to work with “Miss Katie” because he is tired of having meals be a frustrating and/or miserable experience, but I wanted to make sure that it never felt like punishment or like he had to have these sessions because of doing something wrong. Goodness knows a sensory processing disorder isn’t his fault, so I wanted to keep things light, fun, and positive. LC has always had a fondness for “fun plates,” as he calls them, so I thought that giving him a very special plate for his feeding sessions would be a great way to make him feel special and encouraged!

Photo Kids Plate

I created this very special photo plate at Shutterfly. Not only do I get photo prints there for framing or using in Project Life, I also use Shutterfly for photo books, calendars, and other photo gifts. There’s quite a selection of photo plates; all I did was choose the background and one of my favorite photos. That was it; I placed my order and a few days later it arrived looking just like I expected. The photo quality is great, and the plate is really a nice size. Plus, you can put it in the dishwasher, which is a big deal around here.

Personalized Photo Plates For Kids

Needless to say, his reaction when he first saw the plate was priceless. Huge smiles, and an, “Is this for me, Mommy?” {We get a lot of “happy mail” around here and he’s used to most of it being for me, although he does get some fun things from time to time}. Anyway, it worked perfectly for the feeding session. Take a look at what Katie prepared…

Personalized Photo Plates For Kids

Her philosophy was to begin and end with two things she knew LC likes; goldfish crackers and gummy candies. Then, she came up with a whole sequence of foods to link them together. First, they explored the fish by playing with them, then talking about the fact that they were hard, salty, and crunchy. Katie asked him what flavor they were, and he knew that they were cheddar cheese. So, the next food was cheddar cheese she had cut into pieces close to the size of the fish themselves. From there, they moved on to shredded cheddar and shredded carrots.

Photo Plates For Kids

After the shredded carrots, they progressed to larger pieces of carrots, dried apricot, orange, and then finally finished up with his orange candies.

Photo Plates For Kids

It ended up being a really fun experience! He didn’t actually eat any new foods during the session, but definitely interacted with them a lot more than he was ever willing to before. We’ve had several more sessions with Katie since then, and the great news is that he’s been willing to try a number of new foods, and has incorporated several of them into his diet, including pizza, baked potatoes, peas, and Skittles! I know it takes time, but already I can see a change in his attitudes toward food and mealtimes, and that’s so significant for him and for our whole family! I’m so encouraged by the progress and so thankful for Katie’s help! Little Crafter may be the one who received the Shutterfly photo plate as a gift, but this change in his eating habits is the real gift for me!

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