Managing diet investigation in ADHD kids has to include understanding of just how fussy they are! Many ADHD kids are supersensitive to food. Parents report them as supersensitive to tastes so they just know if you have bought a different brand of some food; or they are supersensitive to smells saying they won’t eat some food as it “smells yuk”; or texture saying it is “too scratchy”; or temperature, even colour, saying it is “not the same”! What can parents do? They can note just which aspect of the food is most tolerated and support the child in his “gourmet” potential. The child who acts fussy has to accept that if he is fussy about tastes then there should be some tastes he will accept. He can help you work out what they are. Discussion about what may be tried including the child’s “TV chef’s fussiness” can help the child know you accept his point of view but that you also expect him to help plan foods he will eat. Your understanding of supersensitivity can help with your thinking about what can be changed in a food so it will be considered by that child. Some parents include their child in smelling fruit and veges when they are shopping, after they have learned just how good they are at smelling sweet veges or fruit. And they involve them in cooking so they learn which smells are important. The other advantage in those who respond to a low additive, low natural chemicals diet is that they discuss, smell and taste new foods being trialed in food challenges, and learn which will not cause annoying symptoms such as tummy aches or sleep difficulties. Adult gourmets and TV chefs delight in being fussy about food. Children with heightened sensory abilities can be thought of as potential gourmets and chefs who try many different foods allowing for their particular fussiness while eating enough of the good stuff. Those whose ADHD decreases with diet investigation often become much less “touchy” about everything so that means they can handle and even enjoy foods they used not eat. Joan Breakey
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