Did you know that approximately 25% of children are reported to present with some form of a Pediatric Feeding Disorder? The number increases to 80% for children with developmental delays. Often times parents are told, “Don’t worry they will eat eventually” or “They won’t starve themselves”. Well, this is false. Children with a pediatric feeding disorder will not just eat eventually and yes, unfortunately, they can starve themselves. This is why it is so important to understand the difference between picky eaters and problem feeders as well as when and how to refer a child that may have a pediatric feeding disorder.
Parents, caregivers, teachers, therapeutic and medical providers will need to work as a team in order to provide a treatment plan that best fits the child. The Infant and Child Feeding Questionnaire (ICFQ©) is an age specific tool consisting of 6 questions designed to identify potential feeding concerns and facilitate discussion with all members of the child’s healthcare team. They are:
- Does your baby/child let you know when he is hungry?
- Does it take less than 5 minutes or more than 30 minutes to feed your child?
- Do you have to do anything special to help your baby/child eat?
- Does your baby/child let you know when he is full?
- Does your child gag, choke, or vomit before, during, or after meals?
If you answered YES to two or more of these questions, you should discuss these concerns with your child’s pediatrician.
Melissa Brown M.A., CCC-SLP, TSSLD