In response to a question about how to solve the problem of a child’s picky eating I am writing the following:

 

It may if the eating disorder is anxiety related.  I work with a range of children who have brain based eating disorders.  Prader Willi is one of those, a disorder that will leave the person feeling starving no matter what they have eaten.  They have an insatiable appetite, short stature, cognitive challenges and are quite often obese; and while the chromosome that causes the syndrome cannot be changed, we can optimize the brain’s functional ability considerably.

I have worked with brain injury triggered anorexia.  The eating disorder was not present before a motor vehicle accident. After a rear end collision the 40 year old nurse could no longer feel hunger.

I have treated a woman who gained 30 pounds in the two months following being severely beaten by a foster child and her eating did not change, but her weight did.  Within 6 months of N.R. her weight was back to its original set point.  Weight set point is managed in the brain and when the brain is injured you can gain or lose weight without relationship to what you are eating, or your brain can trigger you to never feel hungry, or always feel hungry.

All of those people and more have had positive results doing programs that directly speak to the brain itself.   This is because the pons level brain triggers our appetite.  It is a survival mechanism and as such will make us seek food if we need it.  Children with inadequate pons level development or an injury may eat very little (one with autism ate ONLY Cheetos and green beans).  Pons level injuries, in conjunction with other CNS and psychological issues, can lead to anorexia.

Children who are insatiable have a trigger a little higher in the brain.  Remember the brain is geared toward survival and so it is a higher function that eventually tells us to STOP eating.  It is the NOT eating that will kill us, but overeating, while making us very unhealthy, will not quickly kill us.  Survival functions are very low in the brain, so knowing you have to eat is a primitive sensation.

Then there are the infants who will not eat.  In the first weeks of life the hands are a part of the digestive system, and neonates need to go through patterns of hand movement that will trigger sensation around the mouth, prompt the flow of saliva, swallowing and peristalsis.  Children who have been bound up for those weeks of life, without mouth/hand skills, may have strange relationships to food, eating only liquid food, or hoarding it in their mouth rather than swallowing, not knowing they have food ALL OVER their face; not being able to move food to the right place in the mouth for chewing, etc.

Neurological Reorganization (N.R.) will address all of the above.

However, for children who have low body sensation, thus not able to feel their tummies and how full they are; or for children who cannot eat due to anxiety, Feldenkrais could make a lovely difference.