Myth or Fact? All children are picky eaters, and eventually they all outgrow it.
Amy Crowder May 13 2020
This is a myth being stated frequently by well-intentioned professionals in an attempt to convince parents that they do not need to be worried about their child’s poor eating habits. However, it is not true that all children are picky. According to research in the field of Feeding Disorders, only 20-30% of children will struggle with some type of feeding challenge or picky eating. It is also untrue that they will all outgrow it. Research data indicates only about one-third to one-half of these children will actually just outgrow their feeding difficulties without some type of intervention.
Last month, I met one of these children who has not outgrown his picky eating although his pediatrician assured his mom on many occasions that he would. I will call him Sam, he is 12 years old and he is very bright and does well at school. He is on a traveling baseball team and has a younger brother. He currently eats about 15 different foods with no meat or vegetables on his list of preferred foods. Mom and dad are frustrated as they have tried everything to get Sam to try new foods. They are concerned that his restricted food repertoire is starting to affect him socially. I knew if he had come to us earlier, there was a good chance I could have helped him with the information I learned from the an “SOS Approach to Feeding” SOS Approach to Feeding course I took a few years ago. I also knew that sensory motor activities and playing with his food as described in this course was not going to appeal to a 12 year old boy. That’s when I remembered it being mentioned during the course that there was an advanced course with a modified approach for older children.
Fortunately, “Food Scientist – SOS Approach to Feeding- Adaptation for the Older Child” was offered as a webinar and I was able to take it during our Stay at Home order. Now, thanks to Dr. Kay Toomey, I am well equipped with the tools to help Sam and others like him who have not outgrown their picky eating. Dr. Toomey does an amazing job incorporating the fundamentals of cognitive development with Social Cognitive Theory and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to create her Food Science program. There are 3 levels of Food Science depending on the age of the child. Food science is a 12 week intervention with structured session activities, child lessons and parent lessons, with the ultimate goal to increase the child’s comfort level with a wide variety of food types and textures.
I am eager to get back to work and begin the 12 week journey with Sam to see what he can achieve with these tools I now have! He and his mom would love for him to be able to travel with his baseball team without having to pack a separate bag with all of his preferred foods!
Contact us for a free screen if you have an older child who is a picky eater.