How do kids with oral integration disorder eat at preschool or later on at school???

by Suzanne

My daughter has oral integration disorder. She is 3.5 years old and will only eat pureed food and only the same meals which is veggies pureed with meat for lunch and dinner, porridge and banana pureed for breakfast and yogurt in between (only a certain brand).

Bella will not self feed herself as she hates food touching her skin and often doesn't like to think about the food going into her mouth. She sees a speech therapist and when I bring up Bella's oral issues and my concern with how she will do at preschool and later school when she can't feed herself.

Will I have to bring her home for lunch? What if I'm working and can't get to her? The speech therapist said she has never known of a child not chewing, however I think this oral integration disorder is not that common and she just hasn't come upon it. She just can't imagine Bella never chewing.

Next year Bella goes to preschool and I think I will have to bring her home for lunch. What if she is still not feeding herself by school?

I would like to understand how other families with kids who don't chew or self feed manage school. Do you bring your child home for meals, feed them at school or maybe have a teacher feed them? Not sure how Bella will deal with feeding herself as she gets older.

I am getting very upset about the whole thing as I feel as though she will have to live with us forever or else she will starve. How do you adults with this oral eating problem deal with it in everyday life?


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Jun 27, 2023
3 year update
by: Anonymous

Hi everyone, I originally posted here about my 3.5 year old only eating puréed food, oatmeal, mashed potato with carrots, goldfish, some fruits.

well now, my son just turned 7 and this past year has been a major breakthrough. He started kinder at the age of five, and that year social pressure did not too much help like I had hoped. However, when he turned six and started first grade the social pressure of trying new things definitely works for him. during that year, he started eating for the first time french fries from McDonald’s and then quickly started eating pretty much any fries from any restaurant. I would slowly introduce pancakes. I would tell him he was required to eat at least half or one mini pancake. What really helped when he turned 6 was he loves to play VIDEO GAMES. Bribery!! I use video games for bribery for all foods. After a couple of months of trying this for pancakes now he loves them. I am also doing this with nuggets. He can tolerate eating a few nuggets now but isnt a true fan. He still needs more time. Same process I did with pizza.

Age 5 below: only ate oatmeal, pureed food, fruits, and a specific brand cookie, cheetos, mashed potato w carrots

Age 6: all the stuff from before, plus
Lay chips
Pretty much any cookies

Things he eats but doesnt love yet
Cheese quesadilla (flour tortilla)

Jan 27, 2022
by: Anonymous

Hello I left comments on here back in 2017. My child turned 7 this month and we are still struggling. He refused the puree about 3 years ago and turned to dry crackers, strawberry yogurt (certain brand) that I buy crates of, this is his breakfast 6 pots which I am still feeding him every morning, he will not feed himself.

Lunch is dry crackers and cookies only certain brand flavour etc. He eats plain pancakes for dinner and eats baby fruit puree and icecream which I again must feed to him, he will not do it. We have tried in vain to get help and there is nobody that can give us even the slightest bit of advice.

It is not improving i am sorry to say. I totally sympathise with everyone living this life with their child. Its very sad that there is no help for these children.

Jan 26, 2022
5 yrs old still on purees
by: Anonymous

My son is 5 & still on purees. Will vomit right away on even a bit of textures or even on foods that he doesn't like. He is on few foods. Can u help me please. No doctor no1 understands what the problem is.

Thank u. Any help with be much appreciated

Oct 20, 2021
4 in Dec 2021 and still only eats pureed
by: Anonymous

I see the last comment and I have a lot in common. I am quite concerned however have embraced the pros of my blending all his food. I know its nutritious and healthy. My concern is lack of flexibility and when will he ever outgrow this. Anyone with similar experience that can share when their child finally started eating table food?
Thank you

May 08, 2021
4 yr old on puree
by: Anonymous

I have accepted it. She’s 4 now and still on puree so we taught her to eat the snack pouches and feed herself the puree. I make plenty of nutritious puree and she went to school starving and didn’t even have water for months and then started eating her purées there. Recipes: breakfast (use a bullet to bring into cream milk, toast, banana, boiled eggs, dates, peanut butter, honey, and potatoes) that’s rocket fuel right there and the peanut butter masks the flavor of everything!

Lunch (chicken, the broth potato, boiled veggies like carrots or peas, and add in a scoop of the child’s favorite flavor to mask all tastes and beat it to puree!)

Dinner:(beef stew mixed in with hundreds of different items your child will never see or taste and masked with a scoop of really anything they like)

This has been working for us so well we have no issue with nutrition and for fruits and veggies she eats the pouches and we squeeze in milk and honey for a drink where we can. Don’t worry cater to your child and make delicious purées it will sort itself out.

Dec 24, 2019
Just update
by: Anonymous

I left my first comments years ago , the last comment I left in 2017. My son now 13. Smart , good student at school but the food still an issue . Eats the same solid food every day , minimum choice . No vegetables at all, only apples without skin as a fruit. Pizzas, macaroni , cheese sandwiches, plain cheeseburgers- that much it for the main dish. Doesn’t want to try new stuff . Sometimes with my big request could try little pieces , and sometimes I see the vomiting reflex .

All these years pumping him with vitamins to support him. I gave up and not going anymore crazy about it the way I was when he was little . I just can’t stress myself anymore. Talking to him, telling him that people will know that he is different , that it’s more than picky eater, just in case he will be prepared in life to face some teasing and not understanding from other people . Hope for the best .

Dec 19, 2019
What happened with Bella?
by: Cristina

So it's been 10 years since the original poster commented on her daughter Bella. How is she doing now? I would really like to know.

My son is 3.7 years and eats pretty much purred foods as well. He does chew other things, but very limited. I am not too concerned with him being malnourished as I sneak in egg into his oatmeal and he eats purred vegetables. He also just recently started self-feeding. But he will be starting school in the fall, and this has me very concerned.

Jan 17, 2018
Oral Sensory issues
by: Kate

I am hoping that i can find someone who can help me. I am a mother of 3 children, 7, 5 and the youngest who just turned 3 this month, in my opinion has oral sensory issues.

I cannot find anyone in the community or nearest major cities who can help me. When i talk about this nobody seems to understand. My child has had numerous issues in his short life relating to his ears. We at first assumed the lack of wanting to eat or chew was down to the severe pain he has been in with his ears.

He had tubes at 20 months. He is now 3 and just had more tubes, a tonsillectomy and his adenoids removed, he is doing well but still the same feeding issues persist. He will eat only crunchy foods (sweet or salty) Crackers, Goldfish, Chips (pringles) and windmill cookies. Then he will eat yogurt (minigos only) Baby gourmet oatmeal and only pureed meals which consist of potatoes, veg and meat etc.

He will NOT feed himself these foods, only the crunchy food with a spoon or fingers. He cannot tolerate anything on his hands or food on his face. He cannot attend a daycare as won't eat and starves all day.

He is left handed, bright and very sociable! Extremely sunny natured and loved by all who meet him. I do not know what the answers are, i just hope someone reads this and can relate or point me in the right direction.

My husband refuses to accept he has oral sensory issues. He says he will grow out of it. He has never tasted chocolate, candy, birthday cake, or even a sandwich.

Can anyone please help me? Thank you for reading!

Oct 12, 2017
7 years later what is the outcome
by: Anonymous

I left a post on this site about 7 years ago . I have read that a lot of people are wondering about the outcome .

So , my son at 3 years old was diagnosed with oral sensory disorder . He didn't chew, didn't eat solid food, I had maybe 5 things that he was able just to eat at that time and every day was the same type of food. We went through occupational therapy for about a 1,5 which helped a little bit but not a lot .

Now my son is almost 11 years old . He is chewing the food, eating solid food BUT still I have a very small variety of food that he wants to eat . He eats almost the same food every day , which drives me insane , doesn't want to try new food , but if tries just a little pieces which are not becoming his new selection.

On my question why u don't eat this or that , he responds it doesn't tastes good , even he never tried before . So far he is a happy kid , smart and doing great at school .

I worry what going to happen when he will become a teenager and his classmates and friends will start noticing it.

Oct 11, 2017
SPD food adversion
by: Tonya

Hi, reading all the posts tonight helped me not feel alone. Thank you!

My Little guy is 3.3 years and eats up to 2oz. Of stage 1 baby bananas or strawberry/banana. He has lived off of Pedia Sure since he was weaned off formula.

He may take a lick of pudding, or melted chocolate..but that's has been difficult for sure. I know now there are others with the same struggle.

Jul 02, 2015
by: Sholta

I have a partner who's child only lives off chocolates sweets drinks coke all day eats only 6 month old baby porridge. The child is always sick and puts on the 5 year old has never touched any proper food in all his life. Is this normal? He is not retarded or anything and the parents and grand parents just keep feeding this 5 year old chocolates coke and porridge is this considered child abuse the child is used to getting his own way. The child refuses to feed himself put on his own shoes or do anything for himself. But yet he is not retarded please help me if anyone can. I've been told that feeding this child this way is child abuse am I correct in saying this who should I contact. The mother has come up to me saying she might have to take the child to hospital to force feed him is the family to blame for this or is this child just being plane stubborn jarryd

Apr 30, 2015
Food ideas that do not involve chewing
by: Anonymous

Ensure/pediasure shakes
Peanutbutter (lick from spoon)
Cheerios disolve in mouth
Gold fish dissovle in mouth
Baby food
I am in high school and pack these for lunch. The school nurse should help at most schools if asked.

Apr 18, 2015
Feeding therapist
by: Bridget

Hi Jen!

I'm one of the posters from earlier on in the thread. It doesn't seem like most people who have posted here come back, but I know that it was so helpful for me to find this several years ago when we were just starting down this path.

I live in a smaller community too, and dealt with the same sort of push back at first. My son was eating almost exactly the same things as you described at nearly 3. It seemed like I couldn't get anyone to understand that it wasn't that he was just too picky, but that he really, truly seemed to not be able to eat the entry-level foods we were trying to offer him. I totally sympathize on the getting dirty looks for carrying jars of baby food around I had the exact same experience. Especially since my son looks a lot older than he is.

Our journey to therapy started with a really, unusually awesome pediatrician. We really lucked out by having him (he's since moved away /cry) . He referred us both to a speech therapist through our local hospital system, and to our counties Birth to 3 program. We worked with both of those agencies for quite a long time - probably a year and a half - without really seeing any improvement.

It became clear after a while that they were out of their depth, which frankly had been apparent to me for quite some time, but took each of them a little longer to come to terms with :-) from there we were referred to the regional Children's Hospital for evaluation and eventually treatment, they had a specialty Feeding Clinic which we were outpatients at. We would go down there every couple months for intensive therapy, usually two days of two or three appointments each. That intensity, and their different style of therapy from what we had seen, really seemed to be what led to the breakthrough for my son. He had his first cheerio eventually a few months after he turned 3, and now that he is almost 5, he eats a fairly normal diet for a preschooler. he still won't really do mixed textures - if you offer him a sandwich, he will take it apart and eat each piece individually - he won't eat the whole thing altogether, but hey at least it's real food instead of jars of baby food! We graduated from the Feeding Clinic about 6 months ago I think, and I really credit them with so much in terms of getting him to a more normal place.

I wish you so much luck! It can feel so isolating to see your child struggle with a problem and have everyone around you saying it's no problem at all. Please feel free to contact me if you want to talk more! Brdgwright@gmailcom

Apr 17, 2015
my 2.5 year old won't eat anything except baby food
by: Jen

I thought for sure we were alone in this. !My son will be 3 this summer & he refuses all table food. He doesn't chew at all!! He gets Gerber oatmeal with a pureed fruit for breakfast & then a pediasure. Usually he will refuse anymore food until the late afternoon. Even then if I'm lucky I can get 1 pack of food in to him. Today was horrible, he's been sick for a while & today he hardly ate anything. I'm so scared something is going to happen to him. He gets mad and slams his head back against the highchair. He used to eat macaroni & cheese if I'd smash it up & now he won't even take that without gagging and vomiting. Even mashed potatoes & gravy seems to have worn off. Every day is a constant battle, I worry about his growth & weight & I'm just so scared something bad is going to happen to him. My mother in law used to make it sound as if I was in the wrong & its my fault that he won't take table foods. I won't nothing more than for him to eat table foods. Tried to give just a sliver of ham to him tonight and he would shake his head no, run away & cry. He won't eat cheerios, Gerber puffs, literally nothing except stage 2 Gerber veggies & stage 3 fruits & sweet potatoes. He won't even eat the 3rd stage meals because they have little chunks of veggies in them. Where do I go to find one of these eating specialists? We live in a smaller Pennsylvanian town and no one around here has ever seemed to hear about his problem before. People glare at me when they see me feeding him baby food. I cannot believe this is something that will follow him throughout his entire life. How will he goto school?? How will he get enough calories to keep himself at a healthy weight and not starve to death. I'm so scared for him. I have these crying episodes sometimes because I'm so stressed out I just don't know how we can go on like this forever. I would listen to any advice anyone has. Thank you for listening and sorry if I ranted. Just feels good to share.. Thought we were alone, I'm glad we're not

Jan 07, 2015
Eating Habits
by: Ssemwogerere Francis

I have 2 sons aged 3.5 years and 7 months respectively but both hate to eat.

I and my wife have tried to introduce different type of food but there is less change and it is worrying us most.

What have we failed to do in order to change the attitude of these boys to increase their appetite and style of eating?

Sep 07, 2014
MY 3 years old son has autism and only eats puree..
by: Nina

Hello everyone I'm new hear but it's nice to see I'm not alone having a child that has eating problems. My son gags every time I give him table food. He used to hold a cup then he had got his shots and brang home didn't want cup no more at all. I didn't know what to do then I said ok well you have to drink so I have to feed you liquids on a spoon. My son eat baby strawberry oatmeal. He loves pureed food with no tast at all. He's in a preschool autism class that feeds him. I tried to get help but my son goes crazy banging head or screaming.

Jun 05, 2014
Oral dysphagia (oral sensory processing disorder)
by: Beth

My daughter has similar problems as others here have listed. She basically only will drink fluids and eat two basic textures: smooth (like yogurt and purees) and crunchy (like crackers). She will not eat any texture in between such as bread, cake, pasta, hot dog, or any normal toddler food. She is also underweight, which causes constipation, so she is on Myralax for that. I have to add calories to her diet in her fluids. She is in feeding therapy, which has helped some (less vomiting than previously) and now they want her to do OT for sensory inegration as well. If her eating doesn't get better within the year, her pediatric G.I. doctor wants to do a scope to check out her throat, digestive system etc. It definately adds a lot of stress to our normal family life, in particular for me. My heart goes out to anyone who has similar problems!!

Jan 21, 2014
Any better?
by: Anonymous

Hi there,

I know these posts are pretty old but am very keen to hear what the outcome was. I have a little boy, 4, and won't chew food either. I had taken him to a speech therapist who offered advice on some stuff we could do at home because he reckoned because we knew him we'd be better. Anyway 2 years later I have been able to put rice and pasta into his meals. The meat and veg are still puréed. He has also recently started to eat by himself and ask for food too which is brilliant. I'm keen to hear other peoples stories and how they've got on.

Feb 27, 2013
How did it work out?
by: Bridget

Hello! I know this post is several years old, but if the original poster is still around, I'm wondering how it turned out. My toddler is also still only eating purees and is supposed to go to preschool this fall. I just can't imagine how that's going to work. If you are still around, would you be willing to email me, at I'd love to talk with someone who's been through the same thing.

Sep 18, 2010
my son has many of these issues to
by: Anonymous

my son was born 14 wks premature and was not able to take a bottle for a month but after that he did great then at six months he started having problems and we to him to speech they swaddled him up and forced him to eat so then it just got worse he got to the point were he would take nothing by mouth and at eight months he had to get a g tube placed. He is almost three now and still one the g tube but he is taking about 30% of his calories by mouth now he worked with a wonderful ot who took thing very slow. Each food he would have near him, then touch, kiss, put in his mouth, chew and spit out, then finally eating it, some foods took about a month to get to him actually eating them. He has got up to eating most types of food but we are still working on the amount he eats. He is in ot twice a week and i am always working with him at home and offering rewards (stickers, a favorite food if he takes a bite of a hated food, and toys that are just for eating time)

Mar 03, 2010
I have a new comment under "is it possible for a child not to be able to chew"
by: Anonymous

Hi. Please read my new comment in the above post. I explain a bit about the eating disorder our kids have.

Feb 27, 2010
Doesn't chew
by: Anonymous

My son is 3 years old, he absolutely doesn't want to chew , take any solid food into his hands,sometimes when he is looking at me eating something, he is getting vomiting reflex. For me it's a big tragedy. Every day he also eats the same food, from baby food- macaroni and cheese, a baby meat, carrot, squash, mashed potato and just i kind of a soup th at I am cooking. THat's all his menu.At night I am trying still to give him milk with cereal just to have him more things into his menu. During the day he wil not take any milk. SOmetimes he can lick the icecream that I am buying at Sam's club. I am very concern, don't know what to do.

May 04, 2009
by: Anonymous

Hi BillieJo
Have you tried pureeing the meat and veg together to make a completely smooth food? When I do this the puree kind of feels soft, smooth and light. I also put butter and salt in it to make it tasty. Bella finds this good to eat as there are no textural issues and I make the temp of the food just slightly warm so that her mouth doesn't 'notice' the food in there!!LOL

Yogurt is good for breakfast and I put fresh cream in it to give it more calories and substance. I make a oats/banana puree which I then sieve which bella likes because it is smooth and sweet. I soak the oats overnight then wash it in a sieve to remove the starch so it isn't gluggy. Then I put it in the pan with milk and 3 teaspoons of sugar and reduce until thick. I then break up a banana (small) and add a dash of cream and blend it until pureed and fluffy. I then sieve it to make sure it is perfectly smooth, light and creamy. Add milk if too thick. Bella eats pink or vanilla yogurt for snacks, but nothing that needs to be chewed!!!

Maybe you could try more purees? I also told Bella that some people like different types of food and that she was a smooth person and that it was alright to be smooth. I ask her about what she likes about her meals, like if it's sweetness I play it up. Maybe also vanilla flavoring in the breakfast porridge. But yes I know, they hate the fact that it is different!!!!

We sometimes do an 'eating dance' where we do a crazy dance if she eats her food. She does it to see the wacky dances we come up with. It has taken ages, but because we have catered to her likes, she has met us half way. Bella goes to childcare for 2 hours each day to play and once a week she stays for lunch and she has her pink yogurt. Recently she has been really wanting to eat normal foods like the other kids, she is such a trooper but her mouth really lets her down as it doesn't allow her to eat the way she wants. She picked up a piece of cake and bit into it, trying to chew it and with a horrified face said "oh yes this is tasty' trying to fit in with the rest of us. It was a bit funny to watch. So it shows that it is a sensory problem and not a lack of motivation to eat. Let me know how it goes. I'm trying Carrie's suggestion about practicing spitting out objects and foods to see who can shoot the farthest with your mouth, to get Bella used to different foods in her mouth as play, with no pressure and no reference to eating.

Apr 05, 2009
My son just turned seven w/oral integ disorder
by: BillieJo

My son has had this problem since he was a baby. He has never eaten solid type foods. He has never eaten any meat or veggies. He only eats vanilla shakes, yogurt, string cheese, and occasional plain chocolate. He has been to occupational, speech therapies. I have taken him to universities. Nobody has an answer about what to do for him. His anxiety is very high when it comes to food. I have never heard of anyone else having this problem until now.

Apr 01, 2009
Thanks and I really need feeding therapy tips!!!!!
by: Suzanne

Just wanted to thank you for your comments. I am feeling a bit low at the moment as Bella has begun stuttering. She now has verbal apraxia, oral sensory integration disorder and now stuttering. My speechie said that they are the 3 worst ones in speech pathology and it is normal for me to be distraught.

Just to respond to some of the comments. I cannot find any feeding clinics here in Australia! We don't have then like in the America. I haven't been able to find a speechie who deals with oral sensory integration disorder, only dysphagia the swallowing condition. My speechie isn't sure what to do and I can't afford to go private as it costs $50 for 30 min out of my own pocket. Not that I could find a private speechie who could help anyway!!!

I wouldn't mind it if those of you who have kids like Bella, who only eat mash/puree and only certain foods-dislike chewing I guess and are getting therapy for it, could share with me what their program involves.

The other day we tried to have a pink ice cream party with her dad and I in her cubby house. I mushed up the ice cream s o it wasn't cold and heated the bowl so it wasn't cold. We ate our ice cream and then and then I put a tiny amount of it on the tip of her spoon and offered it to her. Bella freaked out and told us off for about 30 minutes about how she didn't want it, that we should have it and that the ice cream dirtied her bowl and that is all it's good for!!!!! There was such a flap in the cubby house that I hurt myself trying to get out of there to get a breath of fresh air after the commotion. It took her ages to calm down.

The pink ice cream looks like the pink yogurt she loves, why can't she just try it?

However, we also had a pink donut party with candles and she put the tiniest molecule of donut in her mouth and pretended to like it with a very funny face as she said "tasty', but then said "had enough thanks'.

The only thing I can think of doing is waiting till she is 4 and has more impulse control and then offering her small presents for feeding herself pink yogurt as she likes that. Once she self feeds yogurt, then it will be pureed meals and then once she is about 8-10 years old presents will be for eating more textured foods. Presents always work with her. I don;t even care if she just eats soft foods forever as long as she self feeds. Her father hated eating when he was a kid and once when his mother said he had to eat something or he gets nothing, he fasted for 3 days and got very ill. His mother breastfed him for 5 years just to keep him nourished!!!Bella and her dad are very stubborn!!

Anyway, feeling therapy stories would be so very welcome!! Please share as I have no resources here. It is such a rare and unusual condition that even the proffs can't help me.

Mar 09, 2009
Oral Integration Disorder
by: Carrie

I too have a daughter who is 31 months old with this problem. I have to force feed her baby food mixed with whole milk-she doesn't eat anything on her own-she recently started drinking juicy juice fruit punch boxes.

I have her in a feeding program at Easter Seals, they are online in Sacramento, Ca-you should check out the website, there are many resources for you to take advantage of. I also have her in a feeding intensive occupational therapy program 2 times a week-look for an OT with Sensory integration disorder and feeding problem background and they can help give you ideas. I also make playing with food a daily event and give her a plate of food at dinner-just in case she wants to play or attempt to eat like the rest of the family.

I would be happy to share more with you if you would like to email me, is nice to know I am not alone out there, I don't know of anyone with this same type of disorder! Keep trying, you never know when you will find a magic food that might go down without a fight!-This is what I keep thinking :)

Mar 07, 2009
doesn't chew
by: Anonymous

Hi! I would like to say that I am sure that this is very challenging for you and your family to deal with and I hope you find the help you need. I was wondering if you were continuing to give you daughter opportunities to learn to chew. Maybe practice chewing with no food in her mouth and explain to her that everyone has to chew their food. I realize that this is uncomfortable for her, but it is vital for life.

My son has SPD and he is very picky about his food. I always offer foods that he hates and won't touch. The sight of them on the plate usually upsets him at first. For some time I just told him he didn't have to eat them. Finally I told him that if he wanted to do something (ex. play a certain game or w/a special toy) he had to eat 1 or 2. You would have thought I was killing him, but now he will eat 5 or more without to much resistance. Good luck! I hope you can figure something out that will work!!

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