What approaches to feeding therapy work for an SPD child?

by Kathy M

My question is about what approach to feeding therapy other parents have found worked with SPD kids who are resistant eaters. I've read Ellyn Satter's work on the division of responsibility, where parents set eating schedule and healthy options and the child is in control of what and how much s/he eats. With my son, that approach sounds to me to make sense, but I haven't found local OTs or SLPs who follow it.

My son is 6 and has SPD. He has had feeding issues since birth and is a resistant eater, with an extremely limited diet: mac & cheese, cheese pizza, some breads (w/o too much texture), hotdogs, sliced lunch meat, cooked broccoli, quesadillas, apple sauce. That's about it. Other than eating, my son is a sensory seeker: spinning, bumping & crashing, easily distracted, tickle-craver... At 2 and 3 years old we tried an interdisciplinary feeding team approach at the local children's hospital. The strategy was a combination of preparatory physical work & then a reward & divert strategy to "trick" my son into eating new foods. It worked until he turned 3 and developed an awesome will and sense of self. Dinner time became intolerable and we stopped therapy and now prepare two dinners every night, since we refuse to eat a diet of mac & cheese & pizza. Even so, after three years of easing up on the feeding pressure, dinners are still unpleasant, because of my son's unpredictable eating and his need to push our buttons when he's unhappy about his food choices.

I would love to hear from other parents whose children had similar resistance and who have found successful therapies or other approaches to the problem. Thanks!

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Jul 11, 2012
I have a "Picky Eater" as well
by: Anonymous

I totally understand what you are going through and I am currently fighting with my medical insurance/doctors to find him the right help. He is 2, will be three the end of September and I have been asking for help from his pediatricins essentially since he was a newborn. It really wasn't until recently that I figured out he has SPD and how prevelant it is. You mean we're not alone, how refreshing, maybe there is help! We are getting ready to take our son to the STAR Institue in Colorado, with or without the help of his insurance and peditrician! His main issue is oral, "a picky eater", although he has always shown mild signs with other senses. I am actually impressed with how far we have made it on our out without assistance, I am hopeful and excited to take him to STAR. It has been extremely exhausting, taxing and has caused much tension in the house between my husband, other family memebers and myself. I remind myself and my husband all the time that he can't help it and it is a medical condition, on top of his terrible two's! Good luck!

Apr 23, 2012
SOS Feeding Therapy
by: heatherg

Hi, my son is 3, and we started SOS feeding therapy when he was 2 and a half. It has helped a great deal, and we were lucky to find an OT who uses it less than an hour away. He goes once a week, and his diet has consistently grown. Slowly. Very slowly. We still struggle - textures are a huge problem, and he frequently gags even on his accepted foods because his gag reflex is so sensitive. But, despite it being slow, I'd hate to think where we would be without it. I spoke with the STAR Center in Colorado, and that's how we got started. The other forms of food therapy we tried seemed to make it worse rather than better. Hope this helps.

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