April works full time in higher education balancing her time between her special needs son, handsome husband, elderly mother, and new baby coming in May 2014. She has a background in theatre, film, and television but somehow stumbled into the educational field. She loves spending time with her family, dreaming of the beach and organizing her house.

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Eating Challenges

My son’s eating has always been a challenge. When we started him on baby food, it took him three times as long to get through all of the individual fruits and vegetable combinations because he refused to eat certain types.

Unfortunately, this also spilled over into regular food. He spent one year eating macaroni and cheese supplemented with baby food so he could get his fruits and vegetables.  Forget the meat in jars. He was just disgusted by it!

Special needs children often have texture issues, but so do non-special needs children. The texture issues are often much more exaggerated in special needs children and being toddlers can cause them to be fixated much longer on a certain type of food. Our pediatrician monitored our son’s eating and wasn’t too concerned because he was growing and progressing like he should.

If your child is not gaining weight and looks gaunt, it means that he is not getting enough nutrients and it is time to intervene. Your pediatrician will probably have you work with a dietitian to make sure that he is receiving the nutrients that is required. By planning ahead, you can make sure that your child will receive the basic food requirements.

It has been a long process with eating new things and we still have a long way to go. Our son just started to eat chicken nuggets, but they have to be shaped like a dinosaur and from a specific store. Yes, that is normal in toddlers but he is almost 3 years old and he isn’t eating like most kids his age. He can’t sit down and eat exactly what we eat yet. His texture and taste issues always get in the way of us fixing one meal for all of the family. For him, it isn’t a matter of being stubborn but it is his texture issues manifesting in our meals.

One way to encourage them to eat new things is for them to watch you eat the same things. Our son now officially likes Caesar salad and chicken nuggets because of this technique. He also tried bananas and strawberries this way. Experimenting at places that have salad bars and all you can eat places will
help fill in different types of foods that aren’t practical to keep on hand at home. You just have to keep working with them to introduce things over and over again. Eventually they will pick up something and that will be their new favorite food.

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Comments (4)

  1. jasmin cam 06/08/2011 at 8:25 am

    I hope you update this blog often because I’m anxious to read more.

  2. triathlon 06/08/2011 at 2:20 am

    Hmm! seems like we share the same point of view.

  3. apriljohnston 05/22/2011 at 10:32 pm

    That’s a good idea. I know we have gone through different occupational therapists and each one brings something different to the table. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Rachael 05/17/2011 at 8:54 pm

    My neighbor who is an occupational therapist gave me an awesome tip about texture issues: Get a big storage bin and fill it with dry rice and beans and hide little toys in it. Let your child play in it in their diaper or even just start by letting them dig for the toys. The tactile texture of the rice and beans helps with food texture issues. She gave me a more scientific description as to why it works but it really helped with my little one!