Speech and Eating Problem with My Little Boy

Updated on July 01, 2008
S.R. asks from Wellington, FL
11 answers

My 3 1/2 year old little boy has had an articulation problem with his speech for sometime now. It is hard for him to make certain sounds. He is involved with the child find program and getting help for speech. He is an ongoing picky eater. He only eats a few different kinds of food. He eats crackers, chicken nuggets, a few fruits and yogurt drinks. Maybe a few other things. He hates any other food on his plate or near his plate. If his brother is eating pizza near him he will move. I think he has some kind of problem with his mouth. He shoves his shirt in his mouth and chews it sometimes. He also bites his spoon or straw. I think that the eating and speech could be related, but do not know much about this. He is getting help for the speech but not for the other issues. Has anyone had an issue like this? This is my first time asking for advice. Thanks for any advice!!!

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answers from Boca Raton on

I am not a professional, but my son has similar issue and he has sensory processing disorder along with other sensory issues........................Go to the book store and read the book "My Sensational Child"

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answers from Miami on

are you seing an SLP? Speech Language Pathologist.
Ask for a Swallow Study- this looks at how child eats.
Yes, they are related.
You are the best advocate for your son!
Be strong. Ask for evaluations and services.
If child find won't help you, speak w/ your pediatrician to find out the 'terminology' of what to ask (demand) for.

Keep being the best mom, mama!!!



answers from Miami on

Hi S.,

You may want to have him checked by a chiropractor or someone that does cranial sacral therapy. Many times children that put strange things in their mouths are trying to release tension in their skull. To them it can feel like their head is about to explode and they do what they can to try and alleviate it. It is definitely related to the speech as well. Chiropractic and cranial sacral therapy will both address these issues and help to alleviate the tension. Also, since he will only eat certain foods, he may have food sensitivities. People generally crave or will only want to eat the foods they have sensitivities to because it creates an opiate or drug-like affect in their brains and in order to keep that "high" that is all they want. Dairy, wheat and gluten are the most common. Eliminating those call also improve his speech.

I wish you the best of luck!



answers from Miami on

S., your instincts could be correct. He may have a hidden cleft palate (they call it sub-mucosa, meaning that the problem is in the bones underneath the roof of his mouth), and this can interfere with speech and eating. It sounds like food that are hard to chew give him pain, and he may not be old enough to tell you what's wrong. He could have pain in his mouth for a variety of reasons. Have you taken him to a dentist? There may be something going on with his teeth; he could also have a problem with his lower jaw.

It sounds like his diet is more or less balanced, believe it or not. He's getting his protein from the chicken and the yogurt, some vitamins and minerals from the fruits, and starches/carbohydrates from the crackers. If you can find vitamins that are easy to chew, such as gummy bear vitamins, you shouldn't have much of anything to worry about as far as his nutrition is concerned.

Bear in mind tbat anything that gives a child pain will be something he will not want to look at. It may even frighten him, and he may not be able to tell you in words, so it's good that you are sensitive to the way he's communicating.

I hope this perspective is helpful.



answers from Miami on

Hi S.,
I'm a speech therapist. It sounds like your little guy has a sensory dysfunction, which can be addressed by your speech therapist. I would also suggest an Occupational Therapy evaluation for his sensory issues (when you request the referral, stress SENSORY, NOT FINE MOTOR- they always seem to screw that up). If your pediatrician poo poos you, stand up for your rights and don't leave without the referral.
Good luck,



answers from Boca Raton on

Hi S.
I have 21/2 year old boy and he has a speech therapist. My son does have some eating issues (over stuffing, spitting out, lazy chewer) and he therapist said it is related to the speech. His therapist did do some excerise with oral stimulation tools. He has been getting better. Talk with your sons speech therapist and his case worker with child find. Your son may have some sensory issues or his speech therapist needs to stimulate him. It will all work out. good luck


answers from Miami on

Dear S.,
I suggest that you try to get him to an ENT specialist who can check for any physical conditions which may be causing this! My daughter (niece we are raising) has had speech problem since 3 and now our 4 yr. old is having some serious eating problems. Unluckily, they were both abused as an infant & 3 yearold, which caused a lot of these issues and we are now trying to see if damage was done physically. The bio-logical mother fed them both bleach water and only oatmeal for over 6 months ect til the courts finally had her evaluated! So from my personal experience, rule out an physical problems first off. An ENT is a great place to start! Good luck and May God bless you all!
Kathy N.



answers from Denver on

I would bring him to an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Such a dr could let you know if there were problem anatomically. Also a pediatric gastroeneroligist would be a #1 stop, they specialize in eating, gastric and bowel problems.

Hang in there! Follow you instincts and take it day by day!




answers from Miami on

Have you checked with the dr. to see if he is tongue-tied (not sure of the clinical term)? I'm not sure what the exact symptoms are, but I know it can interfere with both speech and eating. Good luck with everything.



answers from Miami on

S., does your little boy have all of his baby teeth in? Maybe his teeth hurt. Have you taken him to the ped for an evaluation? I know children like to put things in their mouth. Maybe him sucking on a shirt (or other item) is a comfort thing. My almost 2 year old is a picky eater, much like you described. I wouldn't be concerned about his picky eating unless the ped says his weight is low. All children, or at least most of them, go through a picky eating phase. I swore that my second daughter would be a vegetarian because she refused to eat any meat when she was a baby. Now she's 5 1/2 and eats anything.



answers from San Juan on

Some people think autism is a dirty word. I ran from professional ,to professional and all they would tell me is that he was developmentally delayed. He is now 15 and doing great. A little nerdy, but that's o.k. The truth is it doesn't matter what the label is, the important thing is the help. Your child definitely sounds like he has sensory issues. Occupational therapy with sensory integration could be helpful. Another diagnostic method I developed on my own is these developmentally delayed children seem to like JayJay the jet plane, Thomas the Train or other cartoons that have inanimate objects that are life like. My son also loved Tom and Jerry. I think it is the non-threatening way they enter the human world. I hope this is helpful and hang on to God with all your might and he will direct your steps.

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