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Arizona boy gets first-of-its kind diagnosis: pediatric feeding disorder


By Frankie McLister

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    AHWATUKEE, Arizona (KTVK, KPHO) — A little boy from Ahwatukee just got a first-ever diagnosis that could help families around the country. Thanks to his family’s fight, they finally have answers.

Pediatric feeding disorder became a new diagnosis just weeks ago, and it’s when children refuse food. It can look different for every child, but countless families who struggle with this condition can get help paying for treatment.

“We had many opportunities where we could have been given support or insurance coverage, and those were denied because our child wasn’t able to fit in a pretty little box,” said Natalie Petersen, Easton’s mother.

Pediatric Feeding Disorder is officially a brand new diagnosis as of this month, giving the Petersons and other families like them answers.

Easton Petersen is 6 years old and has struggled to do something we all do every day, which is eating. His mom, Natalie, says it started when he was very young.

“At the time, we kept brushing it off, thinking it would get better,” said Natalie. “Maybe he’s not ready yet for food? And I just always knew deep down, that mom instinct, that something felt off.”

“This is a very real condition. It affects one in 37 under the age of 5 annually across the United States. It’s a condition that’s just not well known,” said Jaclyn Penderson, the CEO of Feeding Matters.

And that’s what Easton’s family hopes to change. After a lot of research and cutting through red tape, with help from the local organization Feeding Matters, Pediatric feeding disorder is officially a brand new diagnosis as of this month, giving the Petersens and other families like them answers.

“It was important to us to have some framework as to how we can get our son some support, and that didn’t exist,” Natalie added.

In the past, Easton wasn’t interested in food. As it got worse, his parents said they got more frustrated they couldn’t get him help. Now thanks to a team of therapists and doctors, they know exactly what to do.

“If you had given me a crystal ball years ago and said our son would be in a place where we could just give him a snack and not have it be a big deal, like goldfish, I wouldn’t have believed that,” Natalie told Arizona’s Family. “It’s something that’s okay to talk about, and there’s hope if you’re struggling.”

If you’re struggling with the same type of situation with your child, Feeding Matters is here to help. Visit the site for more information on PFD and the organization:

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