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Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders

14 Nov

I recently purchased a CE on CD from PESI entitled Autism and Feeding Problems by Elizabeth Strickland, MS, RD, LD. The CE was very educational and well worth the amount I paid for it! One of the topics I found very interesting was the idea of picky eaters and problem feeders and the differences between them. Elizabeth encouraged all clinicians, therapists, counselors, psychologists, behavioral specialists, etc. to use the terminology to describe two very different types of children. I am making a valid effort to discuss this terminology difference with the parents of my children who are problem feeders as well as educate the pediatricians who send us referrals to increase the likelihood that problem feeders will be identified and referred to the appropriate feeding therapy.

Picky Eaters:

1. Decreased variety of food (<;30 foods)

2. Roods lost due to burn-out can be regained after ~2 weeks

3. Able to tolerate new foods on plate, touch, or taste

4. Eats as least 1 food from most food groups/textures

5. Adds new foods to repertoire in 15-25 steps (around 6 exposures on plate before attempt to eat)

*Do not recommend feeding therapy. Picky eaters will expand their diet over time with positive reinforcement and extinction of negative behaviors (praise the good, ignore the bad)

Problem Feeders:

1. Restricted range of foods (<20 foods)

2. Foods lost due to burnout are not regained

3. "Falls apart" when presented new foods

4. Refuses entire categories of food groups or textures

5. Adds new foods in greater than 25 steps

*Recommend feeding therapy with an OT or ST who has a specialty in feeding

For more information, details, etc. view http://www.pesi.com to purchase the CE on CD.

What experience do you have with feeding therapy, picky eaters, and problem feeders? Any information is highly appreciated!!

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