BOOK REVIEW: HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH EXTREME PICKY EATING: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR OVERCOMING SELECTIVE EATING, FOOD AVERSION, AND FEEDING DISORDERS BY KATJA ROWELL MD AND JENNY MCGLOTHLIN MS CCC-SLP (2015) .
In my opinion, this is an excellent self-help book that speaks to all people that have a child or loved one that is a picky eater. It is skewed to a younger audience (ages 2-8) and while it says it speaks to ARFIDs, I believe it is more suitable for picky eaters whose health is not yet in danger of malnutrition or failure to thrive. In fact, I had tried some of the techniques in the book when my son was around 3 or 4 years old and they really worked!
I love how this book places an emphasis that your child’s eating disorder is not your fault because so many parents, like myself, carry so much guilt about “causing the disorder.” The fact is, it is counterproductive to blame yourself. Instead, focus your energy on seeking out the help that may be needed to help fight this disorder.
The book details sensory processing disorder (SPD) and how it can affect your child’s ability to eat. The author reviews tactics that may backfire and are ill-advised and can increase your child’s anxiety. In fact, the book places a significant emphasis on anxiety and how it can make problems with eating even worse. The importance of remaining calm at the table helps to keep anxiety levels down.
The importance of routines and structure, which ultimately help to reduce anxiety, is highlighted in this book. This, in my opinion, is so important. For children with an eating disorder, they may feel like their life is spiraling out of control due to high anxiety. The more that you, as a parent, can provide consistency around eating, the better off your child may be. Having flexibility in your routine, however, will be dependent on your child’s level of anxiety and on your own family’s routines.
The book also stresses the importance of having family meals together, as often as possible. I am also a big fan of having family meals as often as is feasible. Showing how dinner time can be a social activity where the family shares stories, laughs, and engage in interesting conversations can be very helpful in teaching your child the role that eating plays in the social world.
Additionally, the author reviews various symptoms that might be displayed when your child requires more intensive treatment. Lastly, the book summarizes various types of therapy, as well as short and long term goals to have in order to have a more successful connection with your child, as it pertains to eating.
i highly recommend trying some of these techniques, in conjunction with professional treatment, because you never know what will resonate with your child.