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My son stopped eating pretty much everything when he was 3 years old. His diet consists of french fries, some chicken nuggest, cereal, pancakes and chips. He is now 18 and really wants to start eating better but is afraid. Is there any help?

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Hi: Yes - there is help and

Hi:

Yes - there is help and support for you both.

First of all, I would suggest that your son see a medical doctor to rule out any physiological reasons for his restrictive diet, and to ensure that he is not malnourished from the type of foods he has been limited to eating for so many years.

There is a condition known as sensory processing disorder. Children who suffer from this disorder also known as sensory integration dysfunction display a number of characteristic behaviors including struggling with the sight, smell, texture, and taste of certain foods. As a result, children with sensory processing disorder often end up eating a very restricted diet.

This goes way beyond being a picky eater - these children truly find themselves gagging on certain foods, and mealtimes can dissolve into frustration for everyone involved.

There are a number of websites that offer support and strategies around managing this disorder - everything from grinding up food to make it more palatable to reducing the amount of stress at mealtimes and helping everyone relax! A therapist or counselor with training and experience in treating sensory processing disorder can also be of benefit.

Remember to focus on the positive in order to provide encouragement and reduce your son's anxiety about trying some new foods.

Hope this helps a little. Good luck to you both.

Amy