Altered consistency diets are common for children with sensory integration disorder and tactile defensiveness. Many children self impose restrictions because they cannot tolerate all textures and consistencies. It is common for children with sensory issues and tactile defensiveness to not enjoy eating and feel very uncomfortable with anything in their mouth due to oral hypersensitivity.
If your child has sensory issues he may only eat one or two types of food. For example, some children will only eat pureed food, while others will only accept crunchy food. Still others only eat soft food and some kids will only drink liquids..
Some children get fixated on a particular color, such as orange or red. Many children prefer white, bland looking food such as potatoes, vanilla pudding, plain yogurt or pasta.
For parents of children with sensory issues, planning a balanced diet your child will eat is frustrating. Most parents eventually give up on expanding variety. A feeding therapist can provide your child with treatment to help him get over his sensitivity.
Be careful when introducing new foods or consistencies yourself. If your child only accepts a few foods you cannot break his trust by hiding non preferred foods in those foods. By doing this you risk having him not accept the preferred food again, and you break his trust and make him even less likely to accept new foods in the future. Leave this to the professionals, or explain to your child what you are doing, and do not hide food.
In the meantime though, it’s important to feed your child the healthiest diet he will accept. Click on the links above for suggestions on how to ensure your child is getting the most variety possible. Although it's tricky, with a little planning and creativity altered consistency diets can be nutritionally adequate.
As hard as you try, many times these children will need a high calorie supplement. It is usually a good idea to provide a multivitamin as well, to provide any vitamins and minerals that may be missing from his diet. If you are concerned your child is not eating enough of the right foods, make an appointment with a dietitian. Visit our store to learn more about sensory integration disorder and different consistency diets.