Picky eaters

Food Therapy

For Picky Eaters, Fussy Feeders 

Food Therapy For Autism 

Who Do We Help?

Kids Play offers specialist skills in addressing Picky Eaters and Fussy Feeders. Many families have stressful mealtimes, are worried about the limited range of foods their child eats and can’t find a way to successfully introduce new foods.

Areas we can assist with include

Our goal is to foster focused, independent children.

To do that, our therapists work with you to identify areas of difficulty and build towards positive change.

  • Won’t sit for mealtimes
  • Meltdowns when new foods are presented
  • Limited range of tastes and textures eaten
  • Feeding difficulties related to medical conditions including reflux, naso gastric tubes, peg feeding

Our Approach

We use an approach based on the Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to feeding problems developed by Kay Toomey and Erin Ross. It utilises a step by step approach with systematic desensitization and behavioural modification.

This enables children to learn the routine of participating in mealtimes, how to explore food in fun and new ways, how to engage with a broader range of foods and start to expand what they eat.

We provide sessions individually or in groups where appropriate. They can be run as an intensive over 1-3 weeks or over a period of weekly appointments.

We work with other professionals as required including Speech Pathologists, Dietitians, Paediatricians, GPs, and Gastroenterologists.

Picky Eaters and Fussy Feeders

Are you tired of hearing the word “no” screamed at you when offering your child a healthy meal. You are not alone. Mealtimes can be one of the most stressful times of many parents day. Learning to eat a range of foods is hard for children to do. Eating is one of the most complex tasks that we do. It involves all your organ systems in some way (breathing), every muscle of your body eg sitting and chewing and the coordination of all your sensory systems. No wonder kids can find it hard.

Proven strategies to help children through the fussy phase

Studies have shown that about a third of children will go through a fussy phase in the first 3 years of life.

 Proven strategies to help children through this phase include:

  • Set up good eating routines
  • Have regular mealtimes
  • Avoid grazing through the Day
  • Model good eating
  • Present age appropriate foods
  • Present age appropriate serving sizes
  • Regularly offer new foods from all the food groups
  • Keep mealtimes relaxed

What if this still doesn’t work

But what if this still doesn’t work. We have all heard “they will eat when they are hungry” and this is true for many children. However there is a percentage of children who will not be able to coordinate their body and sensory system to learn to eat. Many of the children who we call fussy eaters are in fact limiting their foods to what they think they can manage and would rather starve. This can cause stress for the parents and stress, coughing, gagging, vomiting, reduced nutrition and failure to thrive for the child.

What is considered to be extremely picky eaters or fussy eaters

Children are considered to be extremely picky eaters or fussy eaters when they have a number of the below features:

  • Reduced range of foods, 30 foods or less
  • Favourite foods can be lost and never eaten again
  • Favourite foods can be lost and never eaten again
  • Complete refusal of new foods or slight changes to favourite foods
  • Cries or has a tantrum when new foods are presented or favourite foods aren’t just right
  • Has a limited range in certain food groups or may only eat one type of food
  • Has to have their own food prepared at mealtimes as they won’t eat what the rest of the family eat
  • Takes a long time to introduce new foods
  • May present as underweight
  • Concerns regarding nutrition
  • Parents and child find mealtimes stressful

When children and families are experiencing the level of difficulty listed above then specialist help is required to create change for these children and families. A team approach is essential so that all the factors affecting eating are addressed by professionals who specialise in this area.

Please see our Multidisciplinary Feeding Clinic to learn more on how to get help.

Take the stress out of eating.

Schedule an assessment today.

Contact us

Let's Talk

We’d love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us 

via email at hello@kidsplayot.com.au

by calling us directly on (07) 3349 9234

or by sending us a message below