Suggestions for 7 year old boy with eating complications...

by Stacie

I need to do something, HELP! My son is now 7 years old and has food/eating issues. I have done tons of research but don't find anything that relates directly to his case. Here's the thing, when he initially switched to solids as a toddler, things went great and he would eat anything in site. At the age of around 2, he got his two front teeth knocked out and gradually started to pocket foods in the side of his mouth without ever swallowing. These foods eventually had to be just spit out.

Fast forward to today and he ONLY eats some crackers, some dry cereal, chips, pop cycles, vanilla ice cream, vanilla pudding and drinks a lot of milk. Literally nothing else. Our pediatrician referred us to a occupational therapist but that was going nowhere, other than a huge hit to my pocket book so we stopped. The last two months he has been trying one new food a day. Mostly fruit. Basically he just takes three SMALL bites, and by small I mean smaller than a half of a pea. EVERY TIME he tries these new foods, he gags or vomits. When I ask him why he gags or vomits he says that it was too much taste for him or that he didn't like the taste or texture.

WHAT IS GOING ON....ANY SUGGESTIONS....I NEED A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS. Everyone says that he will just grow out of it, but I am not so sure. I think/know as a parent that something isn't right.

On a side note, miraculously he is a healthy, active 7 year old. Has lots of energy, has great social skills, well mannered and excels in school so I am confident there isn't an underlying behavioral disorder that so many others have that also struggle with eating complications. INPUT, anything you got is appreciated!?!?!?!

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Oct 17, 2014
Picky Eater Suggestions
by: Ms. Stacy

Hi. I'm currently treating kids on my caseload who are EXTREMELY picky eaters. I'm a Registered Occupational Therapist (sorry about your past experience with your OT).

Kids with food aversions definitely can improve. If you haven't already, I would recount the incident when his teeth were knocked out. What else was going on with his health during that time, etc. Seemingly insignificant information from the incident maybe important to share. Ex: Was his nose or upper palate damaged too, etc. Is his sense of smell

I will give you the protocol I use with a picky eater on my caseload and you can pick and choose what may work for your son:

1) Wilbarger Brushing Protocol. My kid/client is already on the brushing program so I start our sessions with it.

2) I apply a compression vest right after the brushing protocol.

3) He sits on a therapy ball and we both blow bubbles (any fun oral activity will help prepare the mouth).

4) He will help me make a shape, figure out of the food his mom brings. It may be a happy face, letter of his first name, triangle, whatever. This is a very important part because he's interacting with the food by touching it. Some kids that have very strong aversions require baby steps.

5) Use the phrase "I'll Go First" and demonstrate taking a small bite. Then tell him "Your turn".

Keep a napkin close by so he can spit it right out. Remember baby steps. Don't worry if you don't have a therapy ball, etc. Use what you have and see if there is any hint of improvement. If so, you're on the right track :-)

Hope that helps :-)

Ms. Stacy

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