Holidays can bring a whirlwind of stress, especially at mealtimes. During these holiday meals you may wonder, “Is my child being ‘picky’ or is there something more going on?” ---
We use all of our senses to eat- tactile, auditory, smell, vision, and taste of course! It is more difficult than walking or talking, and it can affect us cognitively, socially, and physically. Woah! Is your mind blown like mine is?
3-5% of children have feeding disorders. What is a feeding disorder you may ask? Is it picky eating such as a child not trying a banana but they will eat strawberries, blueberries, etc.? Is it a medical issue meaning the child cannot safely swallow without food or liquid going into their lungs (aspiration)?
These are great thoughts; however, feeding disorders are defined as: a severe disruption to eating, drinking, or digestion that causes a child to not take in enough calories to maintain or increase their weight at an expected pace [(Source). ](● https://www.feedingmatters.org/)
Many types of feeding disorders exist. Children may present with one or more of the following**:
- Difficulty with textures (e.g., applesauce, tapioca pudding, jello)
- Refusing certain food groups (e.g. only eating carbs, refusing vegetables)
- Refusing solid foods or liquids
- Having a limited variety of less than 20 different foods in their diet
- Throwing tantrums at mealtimes
- Choking or gagging at mealtimes
- Oral motor and sensory problems (e.g. inadequate lip closure or chewing on one side of mouth only, poor tongue control, etc.)
- Gastrostomy (g-tube) or nasogastric (ng-tube) dependence
If my child is presenting with any of the following listed above, what should I do?
- First and foremost, recognize that YOU did an awesome job recognizing the signs to seek out services!
- Contact a feeding therapy provider in your area. CI Pediatric Therapy Centers provides consultations at all of our locations, which include Fitchburg, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Verona, Janesville, or Waunakee.
- Partake in a feeding evaluation with a multidisciplinary team (e.g., pediatrician, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, etc.) to determine if services are warranted.
- Begin the journey with your child! Feeding therapy is not an overnight fix, but a process that has an incredible impact on your child’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Treatment approaches include individualized therapy or a peer therapy approach. Each child is different, and your multidisciplinary team will work with you to find the best fit for you and your child.
Written By: Tiffany Smith, MA, CCC-SLP