Why Some Children Dislike Ice-creams

Feeding Therapy
Why Some Children Dislike Ice-creams

Why Some Children Dislike Eating Ice-Creams?

Ice-creams and chocolates are thought to be a child’s best friend! However, this is not true with all children. Ice creams can be fearful or anxiety provoking due to an underlying hypersensitivity to temperature and/ or taste to these children.

In this two minute read, we will walk you through tactile hypersensitivity and how to help children overcome fears associated with food groups.

Let’s understand what is Tactile Hypersensitivity

An overreaction or over responsiveness to touch due to a difference in the brain wiring is called tactile hypersensitivity.

Children with tactile hypersensitivity may

  • Experience fair to poor appetite
  • Hesitate to eat unfamiliar food
  • Experience discomfort to eat in other people’s houses
  • Refuse certain foods because of smell and temperature
  • Dislike eating vegetables and/ or fruits
  • Often gag
  • Be aversive towards certain textures or consistencies

Who experiences tactile hypersensitivity?

Children with a diagnosis of

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • ADHD
  • Visual impairment
  • Other disorders associated with hypertonia

Tactile hypersensitivity may be present along with hyposensitivity in several children. Therefore, a detailed evaluation is mandatory prior for diagnosis and intervention planning, which will be done by a qualified and experienced speech language pathologist or occupational therapist.

Steps to introduce an Ice-cream

The first rule is to never force-feed a child to eat an ice- cream because you want them to or because other children eat it. Instead work through their oral sensory processing in a non-threatening way to neutralize their sensitivities under the guidance of qualified Speech Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist. It is important to deal with the root cause before expecting the child to eat their targeted food. Once you have worked on these strategies, introduce the ice-cream in the below step-by-step process.

  • Introduce the ice-cream within the child’s comfortable space by eating in front of the child or placing it on a plate or bowl before him/ her.
  • Allow the child to play with the ice-cream or feed you. This will help the child perceive the ice-cream to be non-threatening and explore their autonomy over the feared ice-cream.
  • The next step is to have the child lick the ice cream. Stay in this step for as long as (trials or days to weeks) the child is willing to explore more.
  • Lastly the child may lick the ice-cream followed by consuming it partly or entirely.

Forcing a child to eat an ice-cream or any food for that matter often results in defensiveness or increased fear in children leading to more harm than help. In contrast, applying scientific methods suggested by a qualified and experience speech pathologist or occupational therapist can help children overcome aversion or fear of ice creams, and/or other food groups. Contact us if you need more information on this.


Jismy Varghese

Speech Language Pathologist

Chitra Thadathil

Speech Language Pathologist

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