DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Food therapy

Digital Exclusive

Food is one of the joys of life, but when your child doesn’t take to certain foods or has issues eating, life can be difficult. Food therapy is an option to help.

“Help kiddos with problems that might include things that might include being sensitive to textures, or tastes, or temperatures of food. Or they might not like the way it looks so they’re not gonna try to touch it which then leads to eventually eating it. And/or it might be a child who has some physical disabilities or problems with their coordination and they have a hard time bringing the food to their mouth, and then chewing it, and then swallowing it safely,” said Julia Hawkins, an occupational therapist at Felisa Read Early Intervention.

There are many techniques used by therapists and parents to engage a child with with.

“Simple things parents can do is let their children play in food and give them a choice between two things maybe between two things they don’t like much and see if one wins out. Or pair foods: so pairing a food that maybe they like like dipping it or combining it with a food they don’t like,” said Hawkins.

It may seem odd to hear it’s okay to play with food, but it helps.

“Your mouth perceives things pretty similarly the way your hands do. If we can touch it, a lot of research says that if a child can tolerate the way something feels when they touch it, then it’s a little easier for them to tolerate the way it feels in their mouth,” said Hawkins.

Playing with has helped one little girl.

“It was hard not knowing what she liked. Now over the months we figured out she’s not a sweets girl, she like more savory. We were doing a lot of sensory play with cool whip and she playing in it but we’re finding out she doesn’t like it,” said Michael Spellman whose daughter is in food therapy.

Spellman’s daughter had a complete food aversion. The first big breakthrough was magical.

“Just taking Ritz crackers was huge. I mean when she took her first bite of of crackers it was like, I mean we were jumping up for joy because she went from literally sleepless nights because she just wasn’t taking feedings to solid foods,” he said.

Food therapy has helped this family. It might just be the thing to help yours.

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