Feeding & Swallowing Therapy
As young children begin the transition from puree baby foods to table foods-preferences are quickly developed. Temperatures, colors, and textures may influence whether a child will try and/or like new foods. Many parents consider one or more of their kids to be a so called “picky eater”. However, certain behaviors during meals should raise this question-
Is this a picky eater situation or is this a problem eater situation that is considered an Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder or a Swallowing Disorder?
Signs that this is more than picky eating:
- Ongoing poor weight gain (rate re: percentiles falling) or weight loss
- Ongoing choking, gagging or coughing during meals-gagging while trying or at the sight or smell of certain foods
- Ongoing problems with vomiting
- More than one incident of nasal reflux
- History of a traumatic choking incident
- History of eating and breathing coordination problems, with ongoing respiratory issues
- Parents reporting child as being “picky” at 2 or more well child checks
- Inability to transition to baby food purees by 10 months of age
- Inability to accept any table food solids by 12 months of age
- Inability to transition from breast/bottle to a cup by 16 months of age
- Has not weaned off baby foods by 16 months of age
- Aversion or avoidance of all foods in specific texture or nutrition group
- Food range of less than 20 foods, especially if foods are being dropped over time with no new foods replacing those lost
- An infant who cries and/or arches at most meals
- Family is fighting about food and feeding (ie. Meals are battles), cooking several different meals
(Source: Dr. K.A. Toomey, 2010)
Does my child need Feeding or Swallowing Therapy?
If you are worried about your child being more than a “picky eater” contacting a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) who is trained in feeding and swallowing disorders is the first step. The SLP/feeding specialist will be able to determine if your child is going through a typical phase or recommend further evaluation and intervention.