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Not All Children Are Fussy Eaters!

This post could be seen as a rant or just a way to get something off my chest, but a lot of families who deal with Sensory Processing Disorder are sick of well meaning articles teaching parents how to get children to eat the right food.  I understand, that wonderful chefs like Curtis Stone, is encouraging families to really look at what we are eating and easy ways to make it better.

However, it also becomes extremely exhausting when there is little understanding or research on their part that their could possibly be more to it than simply labelling a child a ‘fussy eater’.  Some of these fussy eaters could possibly have Sensory Processing Disorder.

Sensory Processing or Sensory Integration is based on the sensory system working together to send messages to the brain through the nervous system.    The brain and nervous system receive input from body parts as well as from the outside world. The central nervous system is also a means of transmitting messages throughout the body and functions somewhat like a computer system. The messages that are transmitted, however, affect functions such as muscle movement, coordination, learning, memory, emotion, behaviour and thought.

However for people with Sensory Processing Disorder it is like a computer breakdown or malfunction in one part of the system which often affects other functions of the system. SPD is when the sensory signals don’t get organised into appropriate responses.  A person with SPD, finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks.

For my daughter her oral area is her worst and food is a battle everyday.  Her sensory system is always defensive so any smell that may not be right will put her off coming even into the eating area.  At present she only eats white food which are rice cakes, Steggles nuggets, a particular wholemeal bread and forget fruit and vegetables.  Things that can send her running could be I have slightly overcooked something. The food may taste different from yesterday if I used the wrong spoon to mix it with the texture could feel funny.

We are currently seeing an Occupational Therapist to assist Emma.  We were doing an eating program and as I was sitting there watching Emma simply touch a banana and then get to the point of putting it in her mouth, I noticed that the OT actually wasn’t touching the banana either.  I would think the OT is in her early 20s and she told me that she has just taught herself how to eat an apple normally.

There would be so many individuals undiagnosed who have this issue out in the community who may be labelled as fussy eaters instead of Sensory Processing Disorder.