Our family just returned from a spring break trip to Florida where we stayed with my in-laws. It is always interesting to travel with someone with ARFID. I used to panic and dread it, not knowing how or when my son would get to eat, but now I have learned to relax into it and some how it always seems to work out. For this trip, my in-laws were already in FL and let us know that they do not sell his brand of chocolate milk there. This was a little unsettling at first, but we did manage to find a brand that he used to drink last year and he agreed to drink that during the trip. My in-laws had already bought all of his foods ahead of time, so we were very fortunate to drive straight to their rental and have all his foods ready!
Some of the experiences that we have had during our travels and how we worked around them are listed below:
Other situations we've encountered are overnights or weekends at a relatives, which is easy these days. We've been doing this long enough that all of our family members know the routine. I just pack a small cooler and a bag of food. When my son was younger, I had to make a schedule of what to feed him and when. But now he is old enough to manage it all for himself. You can also read about our recent weekend away for a school field trip - this was a tough one, but it all worked out: http://www.arfidmom.com/arfidblog/being-heightened-with-arfid
All in all, I think we are pretty lucky to be ARFID parents in this day and age. I couldn't imagine having to navigate around to different restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations without having a smart phone to help me find it all! It all seems to work out just fine every time we travel, BUT I do not think we will be traveling abroad any time soon. That would be a tough one!
Hello all of my lovely ARFID Parents!
I've been getting this question from a lot of you lately.... "I live in XYZ state/country and I can't find anyone, where do I begin?"
Keeping in mind that I am not a doctor, rather I am a parent with 10 years of experience and soon to be a certified ARFID Specialist (April 2017). This is the response I give:
That's a tough question! It is hard to find the right people at first. In my experience, the combination of an Occupational Therapist and an Eating Disorder Psychotherapist is ideal. The OT can work with the sensory piece, since this is a sensory disorder and the psychologist can work with the trauma piece associated with the "fear of food". I believe that it takes a team to heal ARFID. A nutritionist is a great addition - but when our child fears food, then talking about food can be very "activating" for them - which is not helpful. So, using a nutritionist in the capacity of educating how foods help our bodies grow (i.e. what are the food groups, what does protein do for our bodies, what does the rainbow of foods look like) can be helpful.
If you are struggling to find the right people or even people that are familiar with ARFID, then there are a few options. You can find a therapist willing to learn and refer them to my mentor Dr. Kim DiRe's website for ARFID Specialist Training (www.kimdire.com). I would start with an occupational therapist, as they have been a great fit in our training classes! There is also an ARFID eBook that Dr. Kim has written that is great for both parents as well as practitioners to read. This eBook is at the very bottom of her website. The practitioner course will also be offered online this Fall if travel is an issue. Also, it might be helpful to find out if you can take the course yourself as a parent. It will greatly change your perspective and empower you to help your child!
ARFID is not widely known yet, so finding people can be tough at first. It is important for parents to do much of the learning as well. We can do a lot at home to help our ARFID kiddos to relax and feel safe by simply understanding what this is. It is also important to not "activate" our kids and make things worse. I discuss much of this on this website and blog, so please read it all through!
If you feel that your situation requires something more, then weekend intensives are offered by Dr. Kim in Arizona. I am also completing my certification in April 2017 and will be certified to offer the same in Minnesota. This is a weekend involving five 2 hour sessions to kick start the treatment. I can refer you to Dr. Kim or you can check out my website www.arfidology.com.
As a parent, I know first hand what the "points of failure" are in the home. I know what it feels like to be emotionally exhausted from this and how hard it can be to push your child at the right moments. I am working on building an app for ARFID kids and teens to go along with their therapy.
On many occasions, I will talk to parents over the phone to tell them about the therapy I use for my son and the training that I have received, as well as hear your story and give some tips, so please let me know if you would like to chat! I am always here! All you need to do is ask :) I do this often and enjoy helping parents to find some peace.
And you are most definitely not alone! I have connected with parents all over the world through my website and it is really great to piece us all together!
Erin - ARFID Mom
I am an ARFID Mom. I am the mother of a 12 year old boy with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). I have become the "expert" on my son's feeding issues. I am here to share what I've learned.