“My child is a picky eater, should I be worried?” Many children are picky eaters and will expand their diets as they grow and develop. However, the real concern is children who are not just picky eaters but those who are problem feeders. Current research shows that most problem feeders have underlying deficits including motor- based skill deficits, sensory processing based feeding aversions, and will not simply outgrow being a problem feeder. These children are at significant risk for growth and nutritional deficits. A vast majority of children with autism spectrum disorders are problem feeders.
Signs of Problem Feeders include:
- A restricted food range of 20 or less foods.
- Lost foods are NOT re-acquired.
- Cries/has meltdowns with introduced to new foods.
- Refuses entire texture or nutrition groups.
- Usually eats different foods than the family and often eats alone.
- Consistently reported as a “picky eater” during well child visits.
The Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding is designed to assess and address all of the factors involved in feeding difficulties. Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists trained in the SOS approach to feeding are trained to evaluate and treat postural control needs, oral motor deficits, fine motor deficits, and sensory based aversions as they relate to feeding delays. This therapy is child centered and play based using food as the main treatment tools. Sessions are fun, sensory filled, and engaging for children as they learn the many steps to becoming a successful eater! Children engage at their own pace, are never force fed, and families are taught how to support them during meals at home.
The TES Ohio team is very lucky to have highly skilled SOS trained occupational therapists at both our Akron and Columbus locations.