Oftentimes, when children are experiencing difficulty eating, parents ask one of the following two questions: “What actually caused this?” OR “What can actually be done to determine what is going on? I wanted to answer these two questions today to help clean up some of the muddy waters surrounding pediatric feeding difficulties!
First, why is my child having trouble eating?
There are SO many reasons that your child may be struggling with this super important life skill! And, we really can’t just “fix it”. It’s important to determine the root cause and the “why”; trying to treat a child for feeding concerns without looking into what is causing their feeding concerns will never work. Below, you will find a comprehensive, but not exhaustive (that would be impossible!), list of common conditions that lead to a majority of feeding difficulties in children:
Next, how do we figure out the underlying cause of the problem before treatment begins?
While we have listed some of the common conditions that lead to a majority of feeding difficulties in children, we know we need to get to the underlying cause of the problem before treatment begins. How do we do that?
See below to get a better understanding of some of the tests/procedures that may be included with your workup. Many children only participate in one or two of these tests/procedures, while some need more. Your feeding therapist can help guide you through this complex journey.
Finally, how do I know when it’s time for therapy?
I often hear repeatedly, “Does my child really need therapy?” and “How do I know when it is time for therapy?” And honestly, it is an excellent question! There is SO much advice and information out there and I know that it’s difficult to know the good information from the bad. And let’s face it - many children, as well as adults, are picky eaters. Developmentally, around the age of 2, children become notoriously “picky” and things they used to love, get thrown on the floor. It’s universally frustrating to parents everywhere! This is a typical stage that almost all toddlers go through and most will outgrow. Some, however, for various reasons, do not. And that is where professional help comes in and can make all the difference in the world. Babies learning to eat and older school aged children may have their own difficulties with food, prompting parents everywhere to ask themselves: “When is it time to step in and seek professional help?” Here are seven signs to look for that can indicate that it’s time to get your child a feeding evaluation:
If you feel your child is having feeding difficulties, there are obviously a huge variety of factors that can contribute. Feeding challenges go far beyond simple “picky eating” and it is crucial to figure out the cause of the problem and get to the right professional to help fix the issue.
Kelly is an SLP and a feeding specialist. If you have questions, please reach out to Kelly at Picky Eaters Online at email@example.com or check out her website at https://pickyeatersonline.com.
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