5 Signs Your Child May Have a Feeding Disorder
By Dixie Roberts
Most children with feeding disorders present symptoms long before they are diagnosed. This concise guide will help you determine if your child is displaying behaviors characteristic of feeding disorders and whether you should pursue a discussion with a qualified physician. (For more information or to take advantage of the free offer for God and Business Today listeners, you will find further details at the end of the guide.)
Symptom #1: Difficulty Speaking and/or Delayed Speech Development
If a child can eat, he will learn to talk. Eating develops the muscles and coordination critical to developing speech capabilities. Children with feeding disorders often develop these abilities more slowly because their resistance to eating delays important oral development. If your child has difficulty speaking or is significantly delayed in his or her ability to speak and communicate AND is resistant to eating a wide variety of foods, a feeding disorder may be at the heart of the matter.
Symptom #2: Low Tolerance of Foods Touching
Very often a child’s resistance to eating foods that are touching is simply a childhood phase. However, if your child is highly reactive to foods touching, refusing to eat them at all, and/or even pushing the plate away, this could be indicative of a feeding disorder. Pay particular attention to see if your child displays other signs of a feeding disorder, like the ones listed in this guide.
Symptom #3: Eating Only 5-6 Core Foods
A feeding disorder does not mean your child will not eat at all. It might mean that he will only eat certain foods and refuses to branch out to try any new tastes or textures. Typical foods on the short list of those often preferred by children with feeding disorders include, but are not limited to: breads, pastas, chips, hot dogs and foods with similar textures. Sauces that might normally accompany pasta are usually refused.
Symptom #4: Not Accepting Food into the Mouth
This is an early sign often displayed by young children before they can speak well enough to verbally refuse what you are serving. Not accepting food looks like:
- Refusing to open the mouth
- Covering their mouth with their hands
- Pushing the food away with their hands
- Physically backing away from the food to avoid it entirely
Because of the fear of new foods and textures, children often will not or even cannot eat even when they are hungry.
Symptom #5: Cannot Tolerate Smells
In addition to resisting actual foods, children with feeding disorders can be highly sensitive to smells. In many cases they cannot tolerate the smell of certain foods and will do all they can to remove themselves.
Need a Second Opinion or a Professional Consultation?
Speech Language Pathologist and Feeding Disorder Therapist Dixie Roberts offers long distance consultations on an as-needed and/or ongoing basis for parents looking for access to a reliable, trained professional they can trust.
Dixie has generously offered a Complimentary 30-minute Consultation for God and Business Today podcast listeners.
To take advantage of this big-hearted offer, please email Dixie at dixiedalton65 AT gmail.com with the words FREE CONSULTATION in the subject line.