Who knew eating could be so hard!

by Jennisa
(Midwest, USA)

I have a little girl, just turned 6. In her life, she has been allergic to: milk, soy, wheat, eggs and peanuts. Since the age of 4, we have been able to introduce soy and wheat back into her diet. She still is allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts.

When she was 18 months, she stopped eating. That's when the allergies happened, and that's when her issues began. She learned that food makes her hurt, and now has major food anxiety. Since she has been 2 1/2, she has eaten hot dogs every day, twice a day. She won't try a chicken nugget...she won't try the "ends" of the hot dog. She is stubborn, that's for sure. She has a variety of snacks, chips, veggies, and stuff that she eats. She won't drink anything but water, sprite, and V8 strawberry Kiwi juice. She doesn't get protein from milk, so I am worried about that.

She has had sensory therapy in the past, between the age of 2 and 3. Her issues with touching things is much better now. However, we have horrible insurance that won't provide any sort of coverage for anything that has to do with her speech, food issues, allergies. (they are considered pre-existing conditions)

She will be entering Kindergarten in the fall, and I am anxious and nervous about this. She will only eat her hot dogs if they are cut "just right". I am unsure of how she is going to be fed in the school.

I am frustrated that we don't have the income to be able to have private care for her. It's been a long road, and I just wish she could be "hypnotized" or something like that! :)

I think there needs to be a "SUPER NANNY" show with kids like we all have! :) Any helpful information, or suggestions to take to the school would be great. They say that to receive any services through the school district she has to display that this issue is affecting her "development and ability to learn". She is a really bright girl, so they don't think she's too bad off. She also has a slight stutter.

Thanks for having this site. I appreciate any advice given! my email is jennisajoy@gmail.com

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Jul 27, 2008
by: Jessi

If your daughter has speech issues, she should be able to qualify for speech therapy through the school system. I don't know about every state, but in Texas sensory issues don't qualify for services, but speech does. Even though they won't be qualified to address her sensory issues with eating, I would still let them know. In my experience, even though sensory issues aren't recognized by the school system, most personnel are familiar with it. They may be willing to do some research on their own and try to incorporate it into the speech therapy.

My son has speech and sensory problems and is getting private treatment for both. During the last school year he also received free speech services through the school even though he was only 3. It's a bit of a headache getting them qualified, but totally worth it. With your daughter being in Kindergarten it may be easier. I would schedule a conference with her teacher before the first day, lay out all the issues and ask if he/she could help you get your daughter evaluated for speech services. OT is probably what she really needs for the eating issues. For that I would just read this website for any helpful suggestion.

We use an electric toothbrush to help de-sensitize the area and also offer rewards for trying new foods. Example: whereas with our son without sensory issues we will offer dessert if he finishes all his vegetables, for my sensory son, we may offer dessert if he will take 3 bites of something he finds offensive (provided he finishes his other food). I actually started this with just one bite and worked up to more. Now we can ask him to finish all of the objectionable food before he gets dessert. And if it's just too difficult for him that day he just won't get dessert and he's usually OK with that as long as he doesn't have to eat the bothersome food. There are probably other variations on that such as keeping a chart and at the end of the week getting a toy, etc. Sometimes kids can overcome their fears if it's to get something they really want!

Hope that helps a little.


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