My 7 year old son has suddenly developed an oral sensitivity to foods. We thought he had a swallowing problem, but did a test with barium and found that his throat, etc. is functioning fine. He can chew but not swallow foods with texture.
He has had some tactile sensory symptoms, but not in excess. My question is, do I have him diagnosed correctly? Is it normal to develop these oral symptoms at 7 years of age when up to this point he has been fine - not a picky eater or any difficulties with food at all?
Thank you for any input you may have.
What you may have here is a child whose sensory processing issues are getting worse. The key phrase you wrote was that he "had some tactile sensory symptoms..." Usually, a child or adult will not just suddenly develop SPD, UNLESS there has been some significant emotional or physical injury/trauma. Barring neither of these have happened in his life, nor any choking episodes that would have caused some anxiety about swallowing... my best guess is that it is "untreated" SPD rearing it's ugly head.
I am curious, you say the tactile issues were mild... did he ever receive a diagnosis or have an evaluation or treatment in the past? If not, it may be time. As children mature and develop, some
of these neurological issues may increase. Around age 7 seems to be fairly common, then again around puberty.
Here's what I suggest. First, go to the SPD Symptoms Checklist
and see if he is showing other signs of SPD (now or in the past) that you may not have picked up on, or that may be getting worse.
Next, decide on your own, or post the results here if you need help deciding, whether your son's issues warrant an evaluation. I can help you decide if you want, just put the information below in the comments box.
Then, get him to an Occupational Therapist or Speech Therapist who is experienced with Sensory Integration theories and treatment. It will be best to get him some treatment before it interferes too severely (if it hasn't already).
There are treatments they can do to address the hypersensitivity and desensitize his mouth, making textured foods more tolerable to him. Meanwhile... get started with an electric toothbrush to give him some input! Have him use it on his teeth, cheeks, tongue etc. wherever, and however much he can tolerate!
We do have four resources to suggest to you that may help:
**Just Take A Bite
(written by an OT and SLP together... GREAT book for your particular issues with your son)**Munchkin MenusPicky Eaters Articles
I hope this helps get you started.