Our youngest daughter is a lovely, intelligent interesting child. She's smart (scary smart) funny and interesting. That being said, she has some neurological issues: She has Tourette Syndrome (mainly some head jerking, coughing, sniffing etc) a mild form of Aspergers and Sensory Processing Disorder. The SPD causes her to reject many many foods, favoring mild flavored starchy foods.
Many foods cause her to gag, spit out foods, be unable to swallow. Our older children all were offered a variety of foods and usually chose fruits, vegetables, healthy grains etc. Our youngest was breastfed for 4.5 years. She started solids (either self feeding or home made mashed foods made in a food grinder) at about 7 months and loved everything, as long as it was soft and someone else was feeding it to her.
When she got a little older and started to choose her own foods, around a year or so, "Don't LIKE it!" Gagging, "chipmunking" (carrying chewed food in her cheeks for hours and not swallowing it) stuffing her mouth full (she no longer does chipmunking or spitting) and yelling "I can't swallow!" and then spitting out mouthfuls of food began. Our Pediatrician diagnosed her with Sensory Integration Disorder and we tried to get her into a therapy feeding program. It took YEARS (we are not low income, but couldn't afford the programs that didn't take our insurance) for us to get her accepted at Easter Seals.... and it was ridiculous. She finally got "evaluated" at 5 and got into a program at 6 and a half. The things the "therapist" did were suited to a much younger child, and tried "tricks" to get her to eat, which our dd saw through immediately and refused to be tricked.
I asked for a different therapist, as S (our dd) told me, "Miss T doesn't like me, and she sure doesn't like you at all!" (At the age of 6.) The woman rushed through her sessions, rarely made eye contact with me, so she could go to her own child in the Easter Seals day care center and be with her baby. I understand her desire to be with her baby, but it was evident she needed to make a choice, rather than give none of her attention or energy to her clients. When I asked for an other therapist I was dumbstruck at the treatment. We were told "Miss T is one of our best therapists!" My husband and I said we understood that, but she wasn't a good fit for S. We were offered a "testing" procedure (which our insurance never paid for) and then a "meeting." We were basically kicked out of the program mainly because we had been promised a Social Eating Program.... and they didn't have one "at the moment." (They had FOUR YEARS to accept her into a program.) and evidently asking for a new therapist is enough to get your child kicked out of their program.
We were told at the meeting, "There's nothing more we can do for S." I said, " Nothing has been done for S. in 18 months in therapy. She hasn't changed her eating habits at all, she still has food refusal, she still gags, no oral stimulation devices were used, no weighted vests were offered, and NO progress has been made." They made our daughter (who was not at the meeting) seem as if she as beyond help. I left SO angry and betrayed.
Well, she's 13 now, and still has fairly limited food choices. My other kids ate all organic, home grown, close to natural state foods. This child had ONE taste of a chicken nugget one day and wanted nothing else for years. (Yuck.) Now, she will eat white meat chicken breast, as long as it has breading on it, but she also tends to eat a LOT of starches, mac and cheese, soy milk (I have done the research and am NOT convinced that soy actually is used by the body as estrogen, so I have no problem with that) etc. She has lately been eating more fruits, some apples, bananas, occasionally some watermelon.... but no vegetables, except tomato sauce (that I have to subject to a submersion blender so it is totally smooth) and has lately been able to eat "green stuff" in her food (parsley and other herbs) as she used to PICK this all out one at a time and take hours to eat pasta with tomato sauce with herbs in it.
I do limit her cheese (I really hate dairy products) but she LOVES it. No fluid cow's milk, as I won't have it in the house. As for "not having poor choices in the house." We've done that, she simply doesn't eat. She has Sensory Issues and Aspergers, so she may not feel hunger as other people do. But, I will then notice blood sugar issues and irritability. The child needs to eat and will only eat her own small choice palate.
She was given some "whole food" vitamins, but we didn't see any results from them. She dose get calcium and probiotics. She does NOT have celiac nor any wheat allergies or intolerances. We've had her tested and she doesn't have symptoms. (She does have allergies to peanuts and fluid milk, but not hard cheeses or soy or wheat.)
I can't stress the "she isn't gluten intolerant" enough. I am very familiar with this condition, and this child doesn't have it. (I feel like I have to stress this a lot.)
It's her Sensory System and Integration and we're still trying to get better food into her. I'm not a fan of "tricking" kids by hiding things in foods they like (plus she has a STRONG sense of taste and always knows and then rejects the food and then doesn't trust me, so I'm NOT doing that again.)
It's frustrating, she's even said to me, "My food is boring."
Not sure if there is any cure except time. It has gotten better, she is more curious about new foods, but very cautious about them. She still has a very limited diet.
Sorry for the tome.