Sensory Food Aversion or Picky Eater

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Sensory Food Aversions is a very common feeding problem during the first 3 years of life, when toddlers are transitioned to self-feeding. One of the most detailed articles "Sensory Food Aversions in Infants and Toddlers" was written by Irene Chatoor, MD (professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine), who discusses "picky eaters" and the importance of distinguishing between children who experience minor food aversions and those for whom their reluctance to eat may become a serious feeding problem.

Sensory Food Aversion Case Study:  2 y.o. child exhibits sensory/tactile defensiveness and some level of speech delays.Sensory aversion of food: child eats mostly carbs, milk, cheese and only certain color (white or close to white), sometimes crunchy food: dry cereal (if cereal gets wet in milk, it will be rejected), pizza and chips. The child drinks juices from closed container, so this child does not see color. Since parents started introducing and re-introducing new textures, foods, the child started exploring each piece of food very carefully (visually, then touch and smell) before making decision. Any colored food, vegetables, fruits create tantrums. Now this child tolerate touching colored food and removes it with hand. Child presents with tongue protrusion, decreased awareness/oral-motor control.

Current Treatment includes:
general sensory integration techniques, brushing protocol, chewy tubes, massage, nuk brush, blowing bubbles, verbal/tactile cues for lips closure and tongue movement. Any additional suggestions for treatment besides waiting for maturation of somato- and neuro-sensory systems?

Additional Resources:

Sensory Food Aversions in Infants and Toddlers

Feeding Hints for Children with Food Aversion By Rachel Browne

Beyond Picky Eating: Identifying Sensory Food Aversions