Depending on the individual and their profile, some learners may experience difficulties around food and eating a varied and balanced diet.  These may be due to sensory sensitivities or motor difficulties. 

You might notice some individuals:

  • Have a restricted diet  
  • Eat only a limited range of food 
  • Over-eat 
  • Experience eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa  

As a result of sensory processing issues, some individuals may make be over or under-sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures which will understandably affect their relationship with food and can cause them to experience anxiety around food, including how it is presented. They can also be affected by the environment in which they eat their food, for example a noisy school diner hall may be overwhelming for them. Some approaches to consider include: 

  • Discuss with the family and learner  
  • Consider if there are any physical /medical reasons why the individual may experience difficulties with eating and seek professional advice 
  • Be aware of any sensory issues with food, utensils or the room which impact on the learner 
  • Introduce new foods sensitively and gradually 
  • Establish structured routines around mealtimes