Help With Eating!

by Mikala
(Omaha, NE )

My son, Eddie is 7 years old. He has Cerebral Palsy, SPD, Developmental and Speech Delays. Eddie was born 9 weeks prematurely.

When Eddie was 5 months old, I began to feed him baby foods. He would not take them, I tried everything I could think of. Thickening the food, watering it down, nothing helped. He just gagged and the food would like "fall" out of his mouth, kind of like drool. I gave up on baby food at about 7 months of age and decided to just feed him table foods.

He would eat everything I gave him. Even noodles and mashed potatoes! Then one day somewhere between 15 & 18 months of age, he stopped. He only wanted crackers. Crackers, crackers and more crackers. Nothing else. Nothing traumatic happened. I've never forced him to eat anything, I've always been encouraging with just the right amount of pressure to try the new food.

I've taken Eddie to countless SLP and OT's about his eating issues. We've seen Food Psychiatrists. They all said Eddie's eating habits are behavioral issues. Their advice was basically, give him a food and if he doesn't eat it then too bad. No no no! I refused and still refuse to do that.

I joined CafeMom and found out about SPD. Found an OT with SIPT certification and Wilbarger trained, she had just moved to town! Whew! She has diagnosed Eddie with SPD.

Currently, we are working on full body sensory issues. The reason being that she wants to gain his trust before introducing him to new textures and foods. I agree and understand why she feels that way. Friday she said that we can definitely change our goals and work on feeding issues. This will hopefully start by the end of the month.

We had yet another feeding evaluation with another OT and SLP. Again, I was told this is behavioral. They don't believe in SPD.

When presented with a new food, Eddie will cry, gag, become very anxious, hide under the table, etc.

I need to know how to breakthrough my son's SPD wall. He doesn't eat any veggies,

hardly any meat or fruit. Eddie tends to like the crunchy foods.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


OK, first a clarification... I am confused about one thing. You said you found a good OT (SIPT certified and Wilbarger trained) who diagnosed Eddie and is working with him currently? Sounds like SHE is the perfect OT for his needs. So, my question is... who are these other OT and SLP and feeding evaluation people. It doesn't sound like they are going to work with Eddie in a way that he needs and that addresses the REAL underlying sensory issues. Can you clarify this for me? At this point, with the information you provided, sounds like you better stick to the SIPT certified OT and address the eating issues with her in her time frame and under her treatment plan??

When a child is diagnosed by a SIPT certified OT with sensory defensiveness that is causing the eating issues... GO with that! Behavioral plans will not work for these kids, trust me. It MAY get them to eat a few more foods, but does not address the sensory defensiveness, which is what NEEDS to be addressed.

Meanwhile, I want to suggest a very good book... HIGHLY recommend it for those sensory defensive picky eaters...

It is written specifically for kids like Eddie, explains everything very thoroughly and gives some wonderful strategies!! It is written by an OT and SLP together. I think you will find it very helpful.

Bottom line... he needs to continue with the SIPT certified OT (and SLP) to address the underlying sensory issues AND oral motor issues (control and stability). I would do this first and foremost. Can you? Do you need the other OT and feeding specialist? Perhaps not. I would stick with OT and SLP with sensory based and oral motor based therapies. I think your gut is right on this one. Trust it.

Oh, one more resource that should help... my newsletter: Picky Eaters And Resistant Eaters! This should be helpful as well (in case you haven't read it yet).

Anyone else have any thoughts?? Feel free to share!

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Aug 25, 2009
Comments from an SLP
by: Anonymous

I am an SLP who works primarily with SI and feeding issues. DO NOT us a behavioral approach!!! Kids with SPD need to go really really slow and using a sensory based approach. I end up seeing so many kids whose parents took them to an intensive behavioral approach clinic.

Guess what, the child now eats a little bit more of the same things they ate before, but we have a ton more sensory issues and it take twice as long to help. Behavioral approach clinics do help for a child who does not have SPD issues. Where I am working the SLP's do the feeding but I work very closely with the OT's because if we don't fix or regulate the whole body, we make limited progress orally.

I would also suggest allergy testing. If blood work comes back negative then look into patch testing. A lot of times these kids have some food sensitivities as well and eating certain foods just does not make them feel good. Combine that with SPD and eating is even harder. Know that it does get better. It is very slow and laborious at times. Run if anyone tells you there is an easy fix. There isn't. Slow baby steps and you will get there. Take the texture your child likes and "chain" into that. Hope this helps, good luck and use you "gut" instinct. You are the mom and you know what feels right.

Jan 19, 2009
by: Anonymous

Hi there, its one year on and Ive just come across your post. Would love to hear what strategies the OT used with Eddie and how he is doing now?? Sian

Jan 16, 2008
re: picky eater
by: Anonymous

I would like to suggest to buy some Odwalla Superfood. At least he will be getting lots of vitamins and might actually like the taste if he likes fruit juice. Don't let the green color fool you, it is excellent juice and very sweet. My kids love it. Good luck.

Jan 16, 2008
Replying to Michele - Thank you!
by: Mikala

Okay. I took Eddie to see a Nutritionist. I've heard many wonderful things about this Nutritionist and was interested in what she had to say. She requested that a feeding evaluation be done, just another person who doesn't believe in SPD. So I've left her at that.

I am continuing treatment and therapy with our SIPT certified OT. She's just amazing! She is currently setting up a support group for Mothers of Children with SPD. Our first meeting is this Thursday. I can't wait! She is going to start her treatment plan with Eddie Friday.

Things are starting to move along. I hope! I've just been struggling and struggling with finding help and resources. I definitely think we are on the right road now.

Thank you so much for your help!
I'll check out the book you recommended. I read your article and love it! Thanks again!

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