Feeding Issues

eatingHow can you tell if your child is a picky eater or is experiencing significant feeding concerns that may warrant help?

The Picky Eater

  • Your child has less than 30 items in his/her diet.
  • Your child eats at least one food from most texture groups.
  • Foods lost due to over exposure are usually regained in 2 weeks.
  • Your child can tolerate new foods on a plate or touch/taste even if reluctant.
  • You can add new foods to your child’s repertoire in 15 to 25 steps (including; look at, touch, smell lick/taste, chew and swallow).

When to get help with feeding:

  • If your child eats 20 or less items in his diet.
  • Foods that are lost to over-exposure do not return.
  • Your child cries or engages in significant challenging behaviours when new foods are presented.
  • Your child refuses entire categories of foods (e.g. veg, meat, fruit) and it takes more than 25 steps for your child to accept a new food.

Different kinds of supports are available depending on the type of feeding challenges that your child may be experiencing. If your child is having oral motor issues such as difficulties with bite, chew and/or swallow, then an OT and SLP (typically both are involved) can provide helpful strategies. For children with a history of gastro-intestinal symptoms such as reflux, support is usually provided by a team including OT/SLP therapists in collaboration with medical and nutritional support. Children with behaviourally-based feeding challenges, can be supported by behavioural strategies  such as ABA and IBI.

(from Erinoak Kids)

Other resources:

10 Tips for Getting a Picky Eater to Eat

Exploring Feeding Behavior in Autism

Eating and Feeding Issues

Food Is Not a Four Letter Word

Oral Aversion and Feeding Challenges

Controlling Eaters vs New Foods


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