Occupational therapists are well aware of SPD and all of its symptoms. The average parent, however, may simply get frustrated at symptoms such as easy overstimulation, difficulty with motor skills and unintelligible speech patterns. Though these may simply by obstacles in development, they might also be signs that your child has sensory processing disorder. This disorder can manifest in a number of different ways, so it’s important to understand whether or not your child might be at risk. You may be surprised at some of the signs affected children often display. Eating is often one of the affected habits. If you have noticed problematic eating patterns in your child, it’s time to investigate further and determine the root cause. Though SPD is not always to blame, occupational therapy can greatly assist in treating the disorder if it is. Consider the following steps to addressing problematic eating habits with your kid.
Kids May Be Picky Eaters
Differentiating between picky eating and problem eating is an important but difficult task. Pediatric dieticians say that kids who eat fewer than ten different foods in a day are likely may be indicating a problem greater than pickiness. If your child’s eating habits align with this description, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor for further prognosis. He or she can advise you on whether or not there is a need for intervention, and if so, what route it should take. If your kid seems picky, but is willing to eat different foods, it’s likely just stubbornness.
Understand Intersectional Issues
If your child is diagnosed with SPD, you will quickly realize that there are a number of different issues that intersect in its effect. Eating is typically affected, of course, but behaviors such as speech and learning often are, too. You may find, for example, that a child’s resistance to a certain food is due to unfamiliarity with the texture rather than distaste. The distinction is important to note. Once you understand the full scope of the disorder’s effects, you can better address it at home and work with an occupational therapist to develop additional treatment techniques.
Encourage Exploration and Experience
One of the best ways to combat SPD-inducing problem eating is to encourage kids to be exploratory and brave. Instilling confidence and opening new doors will show that new things, including foods, are fun instead of scary. Starting small, by using things such as condiments or new colors, can slowly but surely break down their resistance to new foods. You can better facilitate this process by integrating healthy and kid-friendly snacks into their diet. Companies such as Hampton Creek offer a number of cookies and treats that can expand a kid’s palate without introducing any unwanted additives, preservatives or GMOs into their body.
Find Foods That Work
At the end of the day, adjusting your kid’s diet to the peculiarities of SPD will be a whole lot of trial and error. Consulting with a pediatric dietician or occupational therapist can offer some valuable advice on accommodating your kid’s unique needs, but it’ll be up to you to find what works best for your child. One of the best things to remember when dealing with eating issues is to avoid introducing foods that could be harmful. Stick to natural and additive-free options, like those created by Hampton creek, for the best results. Keep healthy foods handy at all times.
Be an Eating Role Model
The best thing you can do for your child with SPD is to act as a role model and show them the behaviors you would like to see. When it comes to eating, that means you need to include a variety of foods on your plate and remind them that a diet with variety can be fun. SPD kids may be even more likely than others to look up to parents as role models and mimic behavior, so it’s up to you to model healthy eating habits. Don’t underestimate the power you have in maintaining a healthy diet. There are many ways to treat SPD and the problem eating that may accompany it, but as a parent, you must first start by modeling the behavior you want to see. With help from specialists like an occupational therapist, you can get your child’s development on track and overcome the struggles of SPD.