SLP Corner: Expert Offers Ways to Distinguish Between Picky Eating and a Pediatric Feeding Disorder
[Source: Kennedy Krieger Institute]
Catering to a child who is a picky eater is like being a short-order cook: chaotic. Dinnertime becomes a war zone, leading to hopeless battles fought over vegetables and macaroni and cheese.
Picky eating is as normal as potty-training, a right of passage in childhood development. Taste buds evolve and food preferences expand in these early years. Even the best of parents can have a difficult time getting their child to eat. In fact, picky eating is one of the most common occurrences in children, often outgrown as the child reaches adolescence. But if eating behavior inhibits normal developmental and physical growth processes, it could be something much more severe – a pediatric feeding disorder.
“The difference between a fussy eater and a child with a feeding disorder is the impact the eating behavior has on a child’s physical and mental health,” Peter Girolami, Ph.D., Clinical Director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland – a leading program that was one the first of its kind in the United States and the largest in the world to treat pediatric feeding disorders.
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