Café Cole: Picky Eaters
by Courtney Hescht M.S. CCC-SLP
How picky is picky?
Parents are sometimes worried about their child being a picky eater, but when you get into it, the child is eating one or two dairy things, at least one meat; they’re able to eat corn, sweet potatoes and even some veggies. If they’re at least eating something from each of the food groups and the parents manage it well, then that’s not really a great concern for us because they do have a somewhat balanced nutrition. There are some grown adults that don’t eat green beans or beets; it’s just not their thing.
So the question is: are they being normal picky, or is their pickiness concerning for their brain maturation?
Your child not eating can be a frightening experience. During the intake process at Cole, we ask a variety of questions to identify the exact issue.
For speech therapy, there would be questions like, is your child a picky eater? When they eat, do they often choke? Do they have a history of pneumonia?
For occupational therapy, we would ask, what are some of the concerns you have with feeding? Do you feel that your child is getting adequate nutrition? Can your child pick up objects and get it to their mouth? We are going to ask more of those fine motor skills questions that have to do with feeding one’s self. For example, if we have a 4 year old, we are expecting that they are able to pinch and grasp. If they’re still palmar grasping (grasping with their whole palm instead of using individual fingers), that’s a newborn and infantile reflex. So where are they? Are they able to use a spoon? Are they able to fasten buttons?
We realize how devastating this can be. In fact, we’ve seen situations where a child comes to us with Autism, a seizure disorder and they’re not eating. The parent will be more concerned about the feeding issues than the inability to communicate, because it’s a basic life need.
Look at our culture. We wrap everything around food. Our social gatherings are around food, all of our major events revolve around food. Food is very motivating for us and if you can’t go eat at a restaurant, or go to a friend’s house, because your child won’t eat anything, or maybe they’ll only eat something restaurants and your friend don’t have, that’s more impactful to your life and is more of an immediate need than even communication is at that point. If your child is only tube fed, they don’t sit at the table with you and it can be hard to take them to a restaurant because you can’t keep them entertained with food.
If you have concerns about your child’s nutrition, visit with your pediatrician or contact us today (281.379.4373 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll get you on the right track!
Be on the lookout for the rest of our series on Feeding Therapy!