Feeding Disorders

Picky Eating

If severe enough, picky eating can interfere with normal development and health. Many children have the inability to focus in school, engage in activities like eating cake at a birthday party, or enjoy eating at a restaurant with the family.

Typical Picky Eating Symptoms

  • Preference for only carbohydrates such as crackers and bread
  • Aversions to vegetables and meats
  • Excessive coughing or gagging when presented with a non-preferred food
  • Crying
  • Expressing negative statements about foods
  • Vomiting

Typical Advice Given to Parents of Picky Eaters

Picky eaters are unique cases, in that they can consume enough calories to maintain a healthy weight. This is not always the case, but most of the time, pediatricians are not concerned enough to place a feeding tube.

“He/she will outgrow it,” is the advice typically given by a physician treating your child.

The fact is that it’s important to get feeding therapy as soon as a problem is identified. Younger children have less experience with food, which creates the least resistance to change during therapy. As children get older, the feeding issue becomes more difficult to deal with. Many of the top clinics have a cut-off age for feeding therapy.

Texture Selectivity

This refusal is directly related to the amount of chewing, or lack thereof. It is also correlated with other refusal behaviors that serve the function of escape or avoidance.

There are many ways to correct this issue during feeding therapy. Each approach should be tailored to the child’s history, age, type of texture issue, and skill set. These variables are easily identifiable during a comprehensive feeding assessment.

Color-Based Food Selectivity

Food refusal that occurs when specific colors of food are presented is extremely rare, but more easily correctable than other types of selectivity. Intense refusal behaviors are present when these non-preferred colors of food are presented. Feeding therapy is needed to reduce those refusal behaviors and encourage a positive relationship with foods that are deemed non-preferred at baseline.