Picky eating is frustrating for families. It turns mealtimes into a battle of wills, oppositions and tears. In typical children, picky eating can be a phase, a developmental chapter that with some supportive encouragement can go away. And before you know it, HALLELUJAH! All family members are sitting at the same table eating the same meal. And parents collectively breathe a deep sigh of relief as their children scarf down asparagus and butter chicken.
But what if your child has Autism or sensory processing disorder…..and all the mental health challenges that come along with it? What if their sensory processing disorder and anxiety issues are so great that they physically gag at the sight of food? What if kitchen smells send them running into a self-isolating panic attack? What if their OCD means they will only eat certain things at certain meals…foods that have to be prepared the same way EVERY DAY? What if their Oppositional Defiance Disorder makes new food introductions feel impossible for parents? What if they have no issues eating, but all they will try is processed, full of sugar and beige? Clearly these issues are more than a phase that they will just eventually get over.