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Sensory Integration And Eating

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I have read a lot about sensory integration. I found out about this disorder when I was searching "textures and food". I am an extremely "picky" eater. There are only a few foods that I will or have ever eaten. I do not mean picky like, "i don't eat green beans" I mean picky like; I have never eaten a hamburger, hotdog, pizza, vegetable, etc. I am not "choosy" to lose weight or avoid weight and do not consider my disorder anorexia or bulimia but for me it is an eating disorder and I can't find help for it, or anyone else with it, nor a name for it. I have been told to see a psychiatrist and I did. After one visit, he diagnosed me with ocd tendencies and wanted to give me a rx which I did not take. I do have ocd tendencies like counting, organizing, cleaning but they are not out of control or in control of my life. I am just a clean and organized person. I am however, out of control and frustrated with my non-eating. Doctors tell me that I am healthy and if I tell them I am picky they just tell me to take vitamins to make sure I am getting all of the nutrients that I need. Well, that is fine, but at this point in my life it is more of a quality of life issue than anything. I can only go to two fast food places when my friends go because only two have the chicken nuggets or grilled cheese that I will eat. My husband will eat anything, but for us to go to a restaurant we have to go to one of the very few that will let me order off the kid's menu which has chicken strips/nuggets or a grilled cheese. And, the fact that I have eaten a grilled cheese sandwich or chicken nuggets every single day for as long as I can remember, would be an understatement to say that I am tired of them. I don't like thick chicken nuggets or soggy buttered bread either.

I can not make myself eat other foods though. I do not want mushy food, I do not eat vegetables and the only fruits I eat are apples and banannas on occasion. I will eat cereal but not if it has too much milk or is already soggy. My mom said that even as an infant I would only swallow two or three baby foods no matter how many she tried to give me. My parents and brother eat "normally". Mom also said that if I could "squish" the food with my finger (highchair age...) I wouldn't eat it. I think that my issue is the texture of foods or maybe there is something wrong with my stomach or intestines, etc. Someone once jokingly said that I have overactive tastebuds. Maybe that is it. All of the research I have done about the sensory integration sounds like me though. The kinds of things that are borderline ocd stuff which makes me feel like I was misdiagnosed. I hate tags/seams on clothes to rub me. I have to go to the extreme to feel satisfied in life or to get a thrill (like with skydiving, flying, skiing). Any advice is welcome. This is so odd that most doctors won't sit long enough to hear it all or they do not even know about Dr. Aeyers (sp?) sensory theories.
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First Helper Jimcampbell
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Users who thank mks for this post: momofpickyeater 

replied December 17th, 2007
Sounds Sort of Like Me
Some of the things you describe sound a lot like me (need, clean, hate seams on clothing, only eat grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, ordering off the childrens menu, etc). I am now starting to have a bigger problem with food because I moved to another country and the food sucks. Now I am losing weight with an already very low BMI; now my appetite is almost completely gone. I choose to try and solve my own problem before seeking medical attention because the doctors are not very good here.
By no means am I qualified to express my medical opinions, however, I agree with the fact that it sounds like you do not have OCD.
If I come across anything that may help us out, I will forward it to you. Thank you for sharing your story.
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replied January 1st, 2008
I have kind of similar problems. My parents have always laughed it off and it has become like a joke in my family. Most foods I can't eat because I either think its too old (I cant eat something more than a day old it has to be just bought from the shops or made) before I eat something I have to examine it and if I see something that looks like mould or just something that I decide is a bit odd (even if everyone reassures me it is meant to be there I cant eat it) I was at a restaurant last night and I couldn't eat my food because I convinced myself the cutlery andn plate were dirty and the food just disgusted me for some reason.

One of the main things is that I decide foods or even water has a taste to it and i cant eat it... Like I will say "I can''t eat this it tastes like dust" or "it tastes like sweat or mould"

Even if I really want to eat the food i cant bring myself to do it. Sometimes I just end up not eating anything or I have to resort to a safe food like a new packet of biscuits.

I also can't eat anything that is in a can or tin... I don't know why.
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Users who thank purrfection for this post: momofpickyeater 

replied August 8th, 2008
Doctors won't take excessive picky eating seriously
I have two boys ages 3 1/2 and 10. My oldest son has always had sensory processing issues. He had severe acid reflux also. I have always been told that he would grow out of it. It has gotten to the point that I am starting to take him to see a food pychologist. My three year old is following in the same pattern. Chicken nugget, french fries, yogurt, apple sauce etc. I mean I have to really get creative to get them to eat what they do. They even eat so much of what they do like that they get sick of it. I have tried all the tricks: faces on the plate with food, rewards, and letting them go hungary. It has become a major issue. Both boys tell me they do not like something just by looking at it. I have heard of Automatic Negative Thought process that makes people automatically not want to try something. They do not eat with us because they do not want to see, smell, or taste "our food". Help!
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Users who thank momofpickyeater for this post: mzrubia 

replied February 16th, 2009
I can relate to so much of what was written here. I am sensory defensive and so are my two daughters. One has a pretty severe eating issue and started seeing an Occupational Therapist in December of 08. For my stuff, I have adapted, however with my daughters eating issues, it's so much more complex. I found a few books on this and were recommended a few by the OT. It's helpful just knowing that there are other people like me in the world.
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Users who thank ccinla for this post: mzrubia 

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replied October 18th, 2009
I feel like I have finally hit the jackpot reading these post. I have a five year old daughter that has a severe tactile disorder. It started with food, then seems,tags and shoes. Now smells and loud noises bother her as well. We went FAITHFULLY to OT for a year and no progress on her part. But I learned alot about SID and it made my life a little easier dealing with her. I have always wanted to get some info from adults with this . She has lived on poptarts, chicken nuggets, and cheetos for 3 years now. Shopping for clothes and shoes or eating in a restaurant are absolute nightmares for her. I sure would like to hear what I could do to make life easier and some other form of early intervention. What would you have wished your parents have done or not done to help you? what do you do now to get relief? Please respond to a desperate mother
thanks
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replied November 20th, 2009
Eating disorder-texture
I have a 13 year old son that eats identical to the woman who started this thread...it is extremely frustrating. I have another son, 2 yrs older that ate the same way until he was 10 or 11 and then finally he just started eating the dinners that I made with the rest of the family...hooray! But, my youngest son is really having difficulties. He is the smallest of my four sons by a foot and 1/2 atleast..I attribute this to his lack of eating healthy food all of these years. We eat at the dinner table every night...I cook dinners with meat, vegetables, starch etc...nothing crazy..no spicy foods...nothing fancy, just regular food..but he will sit there and stare at the food, cry, ask a million times what is in it, heat..reheat..reheat..reheat over and over, saying that he is going to eat it and never does. Right now, he is still claiming that he will eat his dinner and has asked that I not throw it away, but the rest of the family ate 3 hours ago and his now looks disgusting even to me! He's gone to the bathroom a couple of times, re-arranged the chairs, complained of a stomach ache, checked on his brothers who went to play games long ago...but keeps coming back to the plate moving the food a little bit and staring some more. My heart breaks for him...a 13 yr old boy that is a great athlete and popular at school during the day, but a sad and confused little boy every night at home. I made an appointment with a psychologist in 2 weeks, but they don't specialize in eating disorders (but do list it as something they treat). I wonder if they will be able to help..I have been diagnosed with OCD, but mild...I have a 14 yr old with OCD and Tourette's and his twin has tics, but not Tourette's. My 15 yr old had Tourette's as well, but he outgrew it. My husband also has had tics. Has anyone heard of any of these diagnoses having anything to do with an eating disorder? We are a very twitchy kind of family, but the child with the eating problems is the only one that has never been "twitchy" at all. I hope that maybe this ties together something for anyone experiencing the same problem, maybe we could piece together these symptoms to determine what might be causing it and hopefully someone might have some kind of idea about what has helped in the past. One last thing, we have never eaten pork or beef in our house and it seems that plenty of people eat all kinds of things that I would never touch...dates are huge for me too and if it is even close to the expiration date, I toss it...But I do eat...plenty Smile!
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replied November 29th, 2009
i think i have the same problem. i have mild aspergers and it says one of the symptoms is sensory integration dysfunction. im a 16 year old guy and have been eating pizza and chicken nuggets for 8 years. i only drink water. i wont wear clothing that has any thing on it. i have tried other foods that lots of people of i know like and most of the time ill end up spitting it out because it feels weird. ill eat cereal without anything like milk on it. i will not eat cheese by itself but i will eat pizza with cheese. ill eat pepperonis only on pizza but wont eat them if there square pepperonis. i hate eating out and it makes me feel uncomfortable because of the little amount of things i eat. i grow sick of foods and end up eating something similar. whats worked best for me is rotating between which foods i eat during the day so i don't get sick of them as fast. i really want help with this but cant find anything. i wish i could eat normally like everyone else i know it would make life a lot easier.
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replied December 2nd, 2009
I have an Extra-Sensory Eating Disorder
Oh My goodness, I'm 14, I'm very much like that, I dont excessively clean tho, I literally only eat french fries and breakfast food. the fries have to be crispy, (no sweet patatoe fries) and things like cereal, poptarts, biscuits, anything dry. This is a serious problem, because I come from a new york-Itallian family... Their LIFE is food, and I can't stand it! when I was age 2-5 I had really bad food allergies and excema, I was allergic to ALL root vegies (patatoes, carrots, etc.) plus eggs, peanuts and shellfish... I still have peanut and shellfish allergies. My mom would spend HOURS in the grocery store, reading the ingredients of everything she bought. No one my age that i know has this problem, my school is going on a trip to Washington DC, and I couldn't go because of my eating disorder. Its an extra-sensory eating disorder, that's what its diagnoed as. I have really strong senses, except hearing really, I can't stand the touch of things like velvet, velour, pasta, sauces of any sort, or meat. I don't eat meat, I used to eat bacon, but my egyptian friend has convinced me otherwise, and I pretty much only ate it because my mom made me. I don't try new foods, especially if anyone in my family asks me to, I threw up on thanksgiving (not at the table, i promise) and I couldn't sit at the table with everyone eating turkey and stuff. when I was a baby, I apparently threw a plate of maccaroni at the wall once i touched it, a few months ago I threw a plate off the table when my mom tried to make me eat buttered carrots. I AM sick of eating only fries and breakfast food, but I don't kinow what to do. I realize that I'll have to explain most of this when I start to date boys and go on dates or whatever, my girlfriends kinda laugh about it, and some mean people at my school said that one day I'm gonna be fat...I worry about my health too. I feel like if I met more people with my problem, I'd feel better. I literally cried when I read that post, and the one's above where mine will be, because I know how they feel, and they know how I feel, never had that before.
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replied January 25th, 2010
i'm the same way. im 17, 6'0, and weigh 120 lbs. i only eat chicken that has no sauce and is crispy. zero fruits, zero vegetables. a ton of junk food. i'm seeing a therapist that has diagnosed me as having "not quite OCD, but it's close." he's definitely worth the money.
when i eat something, i almost always rip it in half. i rarely eat the ends of things (i.e, end of a fry or chicken nugget), and when im at home i'll only eat off of an orange plate. so maybe some slight OCD like things there, but i dunno. also, they have to be the write tempature. i won't and can't eat something that's cold when it should be warm. i dont drink milk, or most fruit juices. im okay with cold cereal and cinnamon rolls, but cant eat pizza, or pasta, or things most 17 years old do.
i don't really know what to do. my dad's an *** and doesnt understand, so he thinks its just me being a picky eater. my mom is trying to compensate by sending me to this "therapist". i don't know what to do at this point.
it's good to know i'm not alone.
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replied February 12th, 2010
My Twins nephews have severe cases of SID. They will only eat certain foods, have certain textures of clothes, etc. that they will not touch. They are scared of rain, loud noises make them go crazy. One of the twins, Ryan, gets angry with his self and hits hiself in the face. It sounds to me like you might have a minor case of SID.
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replied February 27th, 2010
"General Anxiety"
PLEASE HELP - We have a 11 year son who is going through a crisis. He has scene an Occupational starting at age 2 with no results and then referred to a child psychiastrist at age 6 with no success. He cried nonstop as an infant and then was diagnosed with acid reflux. Starting around age 2 he vomited alot and stopped eating certain foods. The psychiatrist put him on "prozac" and diagnosed with him with General Anxiety and said he would someday grow out of his food phobias. He only eats french fries, chocolate milk, fruit snacks, gold fish crackers, apples and some candy. He breaks down and cries - he knows something is not right. What do we do - how do we fix this so he does not have to suffer anymore !
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replied May 29th, 2010
my son is 6 and has similar problems but he will eat: cereal (without milk); bread with spreads like jam, honey or nutella; melted cheese; crackers and cheese; orange and apple slices; juice; chocolate milk or milkshakes; chicken nuggets and fries; fish sticks; grilled salmon; eggs boiled; waffles, french toast or pancakes with syrup; a bacon and cheese roll, crispy bacon. He does not eat any meat except nuggets, fish sticks, salmon or bacon. He does not eat any dairy except cheese and chocolate milkshakes. He does not eat any vegetables (sometimes carrot stick). He only eats 2 fruits (apple and orange). He was diagnosed with SID because he is very intense (craves pressure on his skin, closeness, doesn't get "personal space"). I keep trying to get him to eat things and always get excited when we find something he likes such as french toast (that's new!) good luck to everyone out there. you are not alone
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replied July 5th, 2010
I feel like crying reading all these posts. My daughter is 9yrs old and is going thru similar stuff she has always been what i thought was "picky eater"where she will only tolarate certain foods, only one type of cheese, the about the only food can get her to eat was plain pasta with no anything on it and foods must not touch. she use to eat choclates and such but recently now has no apetite. she got sick as had serve constipation and had to have treatment for it so we clamped down on her eating no more pasta etc. more vegies etc. but it back fired to the point of now she barely eats anything and has taken to hiding foods from us, feed to dogs, in bedroom, in pockets. It can take her up to 3hrs to eat dinner and she doesnt seem to be able to swallow and when pushed to eat up sets her self to the point where she liturely threw up at the table. She has lost weight and im now starting to realy worry about her. I asked her why she wont eat she said she didnt know why, she wants to she just doesnt like the taste of any food of the way it feels. she has highly sensitive smell as she often thinks she smells things that arnt there that will set her off and vomit. thing is i never belived the fussy eater bit only as i suffered when i was young and even struggle as a adult. I have adapted a lot but have a lot of limitations. Im scared for her and have no idea how to help her if she keeps losing weight im worried she is going to develop a full blown eating disorder.
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replied November 1st, 2010
You should try reading The Body language of Health by Hamish MacGregor (try UK Amazon)as he has found that a person's food preference is related to mineral or amino acid deficiencies. His wife craved lettuce and then he found she had breast cancer. Apparently lettuce contains anti-cancer compounds and after an operation she lost her craving. He also saved a woman from bowel cancer because she was eating trays of ice cubes, apparently that is a sign. This chicken nuggests and cheese issue sounds like fatty acid deficiency. Jim
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replied April 21st, 2011
Autistic children with Sensory Dysfuntion
Hi,
Some of your stories sound like your children light have Autism. I have two boys with Autism and Sensory Dysfunction is VERY common with them as well as eating disorders. I myself hsve OCD and was looking up Sensory Dysfunction with OCD for myself and came across this page. I'm surprised I don't see anyone talking about Autism except for the Aspergers child. It's drfinatly a struggle dealing with children like ours going through such pain. Acid reflux is very common with Autistics and my oldest had surgery fir a feeding tube at 1 for that and wouldn't eat at all. Now at 11 years old it's still a struggle with things. The schools even complain but a parent can only do so much. My only advice I can say is make sure you know your child has all their disorders to know how to help in researching the problem. Try your best to manipulate or bargen to get them to eat and try therapy!!! You need specialists as we can only do so much and chances of getting them to eat based on a treat when they won't eat probably won't work. lol.. Watch your child's weight!!!! Keep in touch with their teachers and find out how they are in school and let them know you are trying if they complain. If it looks like they are loosing too much weight seek help right away!!! Doctors will try Pediasure and you can try that yourself if you can get them to take it. If not then they need to see a specialist (gastro) if OT isn't working or methods used. I had to for my 1 year old and me at 20. We were both so young. Sad Try not to blam yourself. I know I have to tell
myself that. We are parents and try our best. It's all we can do as we love our children so much!! Smile They are such a blessing with the good and the bad. Our children are just special in every way and the bad is just a test of our strength!! Stay strong all!! good luck to all and just know you aren't alone. Smile
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replied October 25th, 2011
I am so happy to have found this site, unfortunately I will have to be back later in order to read all of it. I am currently going to an IEP meeting this morning for my now 8 year old. She only eats eggs,farina,rice, but never any meat . She's eaten a cheese sandwich everyday for the past 3 years. This causes us issues whenever we want to go out to restaurants since the smells are overwhelming to her. I hope to find someone to help me in the future because I worry about how much nutrition she gets from the foods she eats. She is in OT, PT, and counseling since her emotions are sometimes all over the place. She is on the autism spectrum, but not austic I am told. Let's see what the IEP says today.
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