ARFID Treatment for Children and Teens

Does your child have a strikingly small repertory of foods they’re willing to eat?

Do they avoid foods due to smell, texture, color, perceived imperfections, brand or any other seemingly arbitrary feature?

Does your child have a very low interest in food more generally or an unusually small appetite?

Do they avoid certain foods – or eating all together – due to fear of some kind of aversive consequence like choking or vomiting?

If any of these statements seem to ring true for your child, it’s possible that they may meet criteria for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, referred to as “ARFID.”

Columbus Park offers a blog series on ARFID that may be a good place to start for information about the condition. Our team is passionate about ARFID treatment and offers several care pathways. One of our most effective interventions is our Home Eating Program.

Columbus Park’s Home Eating Program for ages 4-18*

For younger patients, we typically recommend home-based support and gentle exposure therapy to address food avoidance and rigidity. Sessions are most effective when conducted in the home environment, where your child feels safest and where much of their eating takes place. Sessions begin with rapport-building and a focus on playfulness, curiosity, trust and safety. Slowly and systematically, the feeding coach will work with your child to create a plan for gradual change – whether it is to expand their food repertory, increase the quantity of food they eat or experiment with food to reassure that they can remain safe. Caregivers are given guidance and strategies that they may use at home to support progress and keep the work going between eating sessions.

The treatment plan and approach are customized for each family and child. The first step is a parent meeting where we can gain an understanding of your child and your concerns. From this information, we can begin to structure a plan, bringing your child into the mix once we have some clarity about how to best move forward.

Please contact us for more information and to see if Columbus Park ‘s ARFID-specific services are right for your child and family.

* Based on assessment, if your child is age 10 or older, we may recommend CBT-ARFID as an alternative to our home eating program. There are several factors we consider when selecting the best course. We collaborate with caregivers and patients during this decision-making process.