Eat , Sleep and Repeat
So you read it correct, I am going to talk about food in this blog and to be more specific sensory food issues. These are very common in children and individuals on the spectrum.
Lot of us just can’t eat some kind of food, don’t you agree?
May be because you don’t like the sight of it
Or you don’t like the feel of it in the mouth or on the tongue
Or yet another reason , you just can’t bear the smell of that food item
Well sight of food, taste, texture are some of the contributing factors to an individual’s sensory food concerns or issue or aversions
Sometimes it is also how it feels on the fingers and a how it is presented in the utensil that can discourage the child to try eating the food.
So remember visual appeal plays a very important role in feeding the child. And that is why food decoration has become such a popular vocation around the world.
Having sensory food aversions will definitely result in the child not eating a well balanced and nourished diet and can affect the health status.
This will eventually lead to various deficiency. Now a days many kids are low on vitamin-D , vitamin- B12 levels in the body and this is a harsh fact to be aware of.
It is often confused that a picky eater could be having a sensory food issue. But this is not true
It is important to know and understand picky eating is not a sensory issue . There could be underlying oral motor issue at play.
This is when a child cannot use the mouth effectively for speaking , eating , chewing , blowing and making specific sounds. This issue arises when the brain sending a message to the muscles of the mouth don’t receive it or the message is mis-intepretated.
One thing I want to quote here that pushing the food ball from mouth to food pipe is part of oral motor development and oral motor function. Thus a picky eater should be evaluated for oral motor development rather than sensory aversions
Further sensory food issue needs to take into account these oral motor developmental milestones and must be ruled out. This will open the door that the child definitely resists certain food items because of sight, smell and tactile feel of it
Thus one must be always keep in mind whether a parent, therapist, teacher or educator that sensory food aversions are different from oral motor dysfunctions.
If you might wonder, occupational therapists, play therapist incorporate child led play therapy to modulate these food aversions
If it is found as a oral motor dysfunctions , then a speech therapist implements some oral motor exercises for the child to develop a good oral motor musculature and coordination to open mouth to bite , swallow and so on
In conclusion, I would say it is important to seek professional help when you face feeding challenges in your child. The professional can sort it out whether to take oral motor therapy or go for resolving the sensory food aversions
Since you might find this blog interesting, I just want to treat you with small technique when you serve food to your little one net time.
These are some visual tips to look forward to –
- Food separation on the plates
- Fun food and fun presentations of food (rainbow snacks, flower snacks)
- Motivating snack mats or plates( a good or cartoon based food mat )
This can help kids to overcome food aversion associated with sight
For kids who have aversion towards food because of strong odour, best idea is to desensitise them by slowly introducing light and feeble smells and then proceed to heavy.
See you with another blog very soon!
“Please leave valuable comments if you need more information about this topic of feeding challenges”
Creative efforts and Pizza lover – Heena Sahi