Eating/Food Concerns

by sara
(Northern Colorado )


My son is 4.5 (he'll be 5 in October) and was diagnosed with SPD about 6 months ago. I've struggled with understanding fully the disorder and the ins and outs of it, realizing that it's very complex and each child is different and that behaviors manifest differently depending on the "branch" of SPD, etc. (I'm not even really sure I'm making sense here!)

I am not really sure HOW to classify my son and his disorder since a lot of "typical" characteristics of SPD do not fit him, but then there are those that do. For example, he loves to spin, he has no problem with squishy slimy or otherwise "gross" feeling stuff (even eating it as long as it tastes like candy!). He doesn't fuss about tags or being touched or anything like that. However, he's nearly 5 and he's not potty trained. We can't sing or dance if he's around. He hates playing with kids other than his brother because he can't control the situation and/or kid like he can at home with his sibling. He also hates going places because he's not in control. There are other things, obviously, but more than anything I wanted to give you a brief picture of him within the disorder before asking my question.

This kid will NOT EAT. I looked at the cookbook on this site and it looks great. However, it wouldn't help me. He won't even eat the things that kids his age would typically eat (pizza? no. mac&cheese? no. lunchmeat? no.), so it would be a waste of money for me. There are only 4-5 things that he WILL eat, and sometimes he won't even eat THOSE things. I often wonder if his behavior is a result of not getting the proper nutrition from food since he won't eat.

I present to you, without further ado, the things that my child WILL eat: pop-tarts (strawberry milkshake, chocolate ice cream shoppe kind and brown sugar/cinnamon), dry cereal (lucky charms, apple jacks, fruit loops, life, corn pops, frosted mini wheats and rice krispies with milk on them, marshmallows, graham crackers, hamburger or hot dog buns (plain), club crackers, mini vanilla wafers, fruit snacks, yogurt tubes (this is rare, though, and always has to be cotton candy or strawberry). He'll drink milk, juice, water. He'll eat candy, of course - he loves gummy candy of any sort, mostly. He used to be off the charts for his weight - the kid would eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. At 2, I felt so blessed to have a child that ate so healthy... his lunches were mostly raw vegetables and fruits. He loved raw peppers and raw onions! He ate grapes and strawberries and apples like they were going out of style! Then slowly, he began to reject everything.

Not only am I concerned for HIS health, but I also worry that he's going to sway my younger son to not eat things. Right now my younger son will eat pretty much anything (he's 3.5). But he adores his big brother and I see him emulating him, refusing to eat the things that I give him the way that the eldest does.

So, here are my questions:

1) Is this, or could this be SPD related?
2) Could the SPD be exacerbated by the lack of nutrition in his diet?
3) How can I get him to eat!? I have millions of resources (the sneaky cookbook or whatever it is? hiding veggies in "normal" food? yeah, but I'd have to get him to eat THAT food first!) but none that tell me how to get us back on track!
4) How can I stop it from affecting my baby? I dread each and every meal time as it is with ONE kid refusing to eat anything I give him, I think I'll go nutty if there are 2 who behave that way!

Thanks ahead of time!


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Dec 31, 2010
Only Specific Foods
by: Rachel

My son (now almost 9) started out nursing - and ate like a horse! When we started introducing baby food, he'd eat something fine one day, then turn his nose up to it the next. For the next year, he ate nothing but crackers and drank milk. (I was able to wean him from the breast - one year of nursing - and he LOVES milk.) Finally when he was about 2 1/2 he was diagnosed and started seeing an OT. She worked with him for 2 years (ending when he was about 4 1/2). The problem is, he hasn't changed any since then. He will only eat chicken nuggets and crackers and chips for the most part. And it has to be Tyson chicken nuggets, he doesn't like other store bought brands. When we go out to eat, it's a crapshoot as to whether or not he'll eat the chicken.

My main concern now is that he is VERY thin and I don't feel like he's getting the nutrition he needs. He ALWAYS seems hungry, snacking constantly on crackers if I let him. I need to get him to broaden his horizons and to eat more healthy, but I don't know how to do it without becoming a nervous wreck! We currently don't have health insurance, so that's another problem. Any suggestions?

Oct 05, 2010
only chicken tenders
by: Anonymous

Wow. If my kid ate all those foods I wouldn't even think we had a problem. Mine eats Tyson chicken tenders at room temp--period.

Sep 05, 2010
Picky eating and spd
by: Rachel

Their are lots of logical reasons for kids with sensory issues to be picky eaters. Id say the two most common would be very sensitive sense of smell and tactile defensiveness. My daughter has both. She will not eat meat at all and absolutely nothing that is mixed together. She basically eats the same thing for dinner everynight, though I try to make small changes here and there. I battled with her in the past and it definitely made things worse. Now I try to make mealtime as relaxing as possible for her. Because she is sensitive to smells she often eats in another room by herself(so she doesnt have to smell my "yucky" food). I definitely do not like this but she eats much more that way. I have a baby too and can relate to you worrying about the influence of your older childs eating habits. Mealtime is not the perfect family picture I had in mind! However I know that we are doing the best we can under the circumstances.
Also my daughter sees a speech therapist once a week that has been trained to help kids with food issues. Shes in the same office as our OT, and has been very helpful.

Aug 30, 2010
by: marisa

I have so much I could tell you but I don't think it would all fit!

Shorter version-

Yes it could be SPD as far as foods. Our 9 year old is HFA and has tactile issues with food. He only eats about 6 foods and they are pretty particular. No gooey for him, likes buns too and hard food.

I do not force food and I choose my battles. Is he starving? No. Do I let him eat what he wants? Yes. He takes vitamins so we're covered. Even his doctors told me to do this. What are you gonna do? Force feed him? I wouldn't worry about his foods right now.

Concentrate on getting an evaluation for him. I know how you feel. I have 4 other kids and one of them has SPD too. He is opposite from our other son. One is laid back, likes to lounge and not be too physical, the other is crashing, spinning, etc.

I do therapy for them at home myself and they have it through school too which isn't much.

Potty training. I bowel trained our 9 year old just last year. He has low muscle tone and wasn't aware of how his body worked down there. We did bio feedback and I scheduled a potty day in advance. Kids with autism like structure and knowing what will happen ahead of time. Along with Mirilax, he was trained.

Therapy might help with that.
So I would talk to your doctor and see what you can get for him.

Good luck and my email is if you wanna email me.


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