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How can I help my 12 mos old learn to chew and control his gag reflex?

I feel so completely alone right now. My 12 mos old won't eat finger foods. He only wants his food pureed. He's seeing a feeding therapist right now that says he has to learn how to chew and use his tongue. When finger foods hit his mouth he gags, if we're lucky he doesn't puke. I'm noticing more and more that he can use his tongue (if we chew our food he makes the same motions and chews with us), but it looks as though he has consistency issues. I feel helpless and frustrated and I have no one to talk to because NO ONE I know has gone through this. No one else's child has or had problems eating or chewing. And now people are putting the idea in my head that maybe my son is Autistic. I can handle if it were something like that, that's not the issue. But how does not chewing your food become being Autistic. I don't know who to listen to anymore. I'm a first time mom and I'm freaked out. So please, if there's anyone out there that has gone through, or is going through this and can offer some words of enlightenment and encouragement, or offer advice or even comfort, it's greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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Asked by DCNYmommy at 8:29 AM on Nov. 27, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 3 (20 Credits)
Answers (2)
  • What your child has is called a developmental delay. My youngest son had feeding problems. All was fine while he was exclusively breastfed. He didn't want to eat solids. He was my third. I never gave my kids commercial baby food, I gave them fork mashed food to feed themselves after 6 mo. It turned out my youngest had tactile sensitivity issues. Food in his mouth was painful to him. Breastfeeding kept him alive but he didn't gain weight. This was 22 years ago when less was known about tactile issues. I finally found an occupational therapist trained to help kids with his kind of problems and he was hospitalized and eating in a few days.


    Answer by Gailll at 9:29 AM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • My son had been born premature and had other developmental delays. All babies/toddlers can be evaluated for developmental delays and receive physical, occupational, and speech therapy for free unless the government program has recently changed. It is called early intervention. Developmental delays, a child not doing what they are supposed to do on time, do not mean a child has Autism. People with tactile sensitivities may have issues all their lives. There are books about "out of sync" children that help some parents. My son that had the feeding problems doesn't drink soda and won't eat some textures. He does eat well and he is 6'4". Tactile problems run in families.


    Answer by Gailll at 9:35 AM on Nov. 27, 2010

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