Parents want the best for their children, and that includes providing them with a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. What happens if children refuse to eat or are unable to do so? It’s sometimes difficult to recognize when your child’s picky eating has become more significant and truly problematic. There may be a number of underlying causes contributing to your child’s feeding difficulties, and a feeding evaluation can aid in better understanding the cause of these difficulties.
Do Any of these Statements Describe Your Child?
- My child doesn’t like cold foods, crunchy foods, or certain textures.
- My preschooler doesn’t eat meat, fruits, or vegetables.
- My child had a significant illness, and now he is afraid to eat.
- My child had his g-tube removed, but now he won’t eat orally.
- My child has always had difficulty feeding, even as an infant.
What are Feeding Difficulties & How do They Impact Children?
If your child simply doesn’t like one or two foods, it may be okay to accommodate their preferences. However, if your child is not receiving adequate nutrition, your child may be experiencing a more complex feeding issue that may combine medical, behavioral, sensory, and/or oral-motor difficulties. In addition to having a negative impact on your child’s well-being and overall development, feeding difficulties may also create parental stress and anxiety, as they strive to meet the needs of their child. While anyone can struggle with feeding difficulties, these evaluations are typically conducted for infants and children up to the age of eight, although there are exceptions.
Dr. Jones received training in feeding disorders while serving as part of an interdisciplinary team at the prestigious Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later at Riley Hospital for Children. She has years of experience in diagnosing feeding issues, and Dr. Jones regularly partners with skilled providers specializing in feeding, such as dieticians, speech language pathologists, and pediatricians. This collaborative approach ensures your child receives a holistic treatment plan to address all aspects of feeding difficulties, including underling concerns such as anxiety or maladaptive behaviors. Dr. Jones can also assist your family by providing counseling services to improve function within the family unit as a whole.
What Happens During Feeding Evaluations?
Feeding evaluations typically occur during an initial 2 to 3 hour office visit. We’ll begin by talking to you the parent and/or your child to gather extensive information about medical and developmental history, family history, past and current eating concerns, and other basic information. Then, we’ll conduct a feeding observation to better understand your child’s difficulties. We will ask your child to interact with and/or eat a variety of preferred and non-preferred foods. We will request that you bring favorite foods/drinks, non-preferred foods, and/or eating utensils/sippy cups from home to limit unnecessary stress and make the experience as natural as possible for your child. After the interview and assessment, we’ll sit down with you to discuss our findings and make recommendations for ongoing treatment.
Will A Feeding Evaluation Help My Child?
After the initial feeding evaluation, Dr. Jones will work with your family to develop a treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of the feeding difficulties. The treatment plan will incorporate any needed interventions and multiple providers, if necessary. Dr. Jones is well versed in coordinating care with a variety of medical professionals, including primary care physicians, dietitians, speech language pathologists, and occupational therapists. If you want to get started with a feeding evaluation for your child, Dr. Jones is happy to help you schedule an assessment visit.
*Dr. Jones sees clients in offices in Fortville and Lafayette, Indiana.