Five-year-old Theo, from Austria, eats only a limited selection of foods. Trying new foods is difficult.
He exhibits characteristics of both tactile and oral aversion. The topic of food behavior is high on the family’s priority list. There is a great deal of pressure and a lot of negotiating at the table. To address the situation, his parents turn to NoTube in the summer of 2022. Theo and his family would be visiting the Eating School.

Tell us about your experience with you child’s mealtime situation (with or without a feeding tube). What was it like before, during, and after treatment? How did you feel during the program? What was difficult; what was easy? What kind of changes did you notice in your child? Share what is important to you with other parents… 

Dear parents and those interested in the Eating School.

theo2-1We are a five-person family with three children ages 7, 5, and 2 years. After weaning our son, Theo (5), we had a problem with the introduction of new foods. We fed him with a bottle until he was two years old – spoon feeding was utterly impossible. He refused foods with moist, wet textures.

We tried absolutely everything, playful, firm with fun, etc. – it was futile. He discovered schnitzel, French fries, dry foods, like corn puffs, bread, etc, as well as pancakes on his own. So for over two years, we cooked him schnitzel… every day – and this with a family that had previously not owned a deep fryer.

After lots of research and many sessions with occupational therapists and speech therapists, we learned about the Eating School and completed the assessment. The result: Theo was a classic picky eater.

We had completed the assessment in 2021 and could have participated in the Eating School at that point, but we decided to continue with speech and occupational therapy for another half year and keep an eye on Theo’s progress. This decision was based on fear that we might spend lots of money and still make no progress.

theo1After the six months had passed with some motor and sensory improvement but almost no change in eating behavior, we decided to enroll five-year-old Theo for the two-week intensive Eating School program.

We felt immediately welcome in the small group, and everyone was eager to help us. Theo learned to recognize the sensation of hunger; his autonomy was encouraged; and he experienced new foods during the Play Picnics. The two weeks were challenging. Theo did not initially welcome the changes. For the first seven days, there was a lot of struggle and very little progress, but we trusted the team and went along with all of their suggestions.

Within our parents’ group there were many ups and downs as we got to know ourselves anew. Theo had to leave his comfort zone and gain confidence in the process of discovery. With their professional support and guidance, the Eating School team found ways to help Theo accomplish those goals. The interactions with peers also helped Theo take the steps he needed to take.

We parents received the psychological support that we needed. In those moments where resistance had nearly worn us out, doubt was taking root, and stamina was most needed – the team was there.

Theo was especially enthusiastic about the various sensory play groups (Noodle-monster party, cake decorating, ice cream party…) – and these provided many opportunities for change to take place in touching and handling food. The online follow-up care was critical and helpful as we returned to our daily routine and the way we went about things had to be reconsidered.

We look back on this time of growth with great gratitude. It is incredible how many new foods Theo has discovered since our time in the Eating School, and he adds new things to the list every week. He is cooperative and willing to compromise.

Theo still takes great pleasure in remembering the Eating School. Looking back, we would have participated in the program as soon as possible and not waited the six months.

Dear doubtful parents – have the courage to take this step with your child; embrace change; in the team at the Eating School, you have clear, professional, loving, and efficient support for you and your child!

With love, Eva & Christian Dötzl

Do you have any questions? Please contact us!