What Is the Difference Between Picky Eaters and Problem Eaters?

  • Funny-Foam-on-MirrorEating is dependent upon environment, nutrition, and development, and is a very complex task of sensory integration, which we so easily take for granted.
  • Eating involves sensory integration of tactile textures, visual colors, varying temperatures, gustatory flavors, olfactory smell, sound sensitivity, and oral-motor control. One swallow involves 26 muscles and 6 cranial nerves to coordinate the process.
  • Sensory over sensitivity and resultant over responsivity contributes to problems with eating.
  • Sensory under sensitivity and resultant unresponsivity contributes to problems with eating.
  • Many children are picky eaters, but differentiating picky eaters from problem eaters is important.
  • The family-centered SOS (Sequential-Oral- Sensory) approach to feeding was developed by Kay Toomey, Pediatric Psychologist, and addresses problematic feeding behaviors.
  • The E.A.T (Eliminate, Add, Try) approach is also recommended for poor eaters.

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