April 6, 2023

Picky Eating or Problem Feeding?

Laura Gencarella Speech Therapist in Charlotte, NC

Laura Gencarella
Owner, Speaking Sensory LLC

Speaking Sensory speech therapy session in Charlotte, NC

Food is an important part of our lives, from everyday meals to birthday celebrations to holidays. But for some children and their families, eating can be a struggle due to difficulties with swallowing, sensory exposure, or health concerns. Fortunately, qualified speech language pathologists and occupational therapists are available to provide intervention and insight into why a child may be a picky eater or a problem feeder, and give you tools to help you on this journey.

Picky eating and problem feeding are two different issues that can have a significant impact on the development of children. While picky eaters may be more common, problem feeders require more specialized intervention from speech language pathologists and occupational therapists.

Picky eaters generally have a wide variety of foods they will eat, but may be hesitant to try new things or become fixated on certain foods. Problem feeders, on the other hand, have a much more restricted range or variety of foods than picky eaters. They often only eat less than 20 different foods and may even gag or vomit when trying new foods.

Speech language pathologists and occupational therapists can help both picky eaters and problem feeders learn how to expand their diets in order to ensure proper nutrition for healthy growth and development. For picky eaters, this might involve introducing new flavors or textures in small amounts over time to help them become more comfortable with trying new things. For problem feeders, it’s important to work closely with parents and caregivers to identify potential triggers for food refusal as well as strategies for expanding their diets.

No matter which type of eater your child is, it’s important to remember that every child is unique and will progress at their own pace. Working with a qualified speech language pathologist or occupational therapist can help you create an individualized plan that works best for your child’s needs. Contact us today for more information on picky eating vs. problem feeding, and let us help guide you through this moment in time!

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