Pediatric Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) Treatment Program

Pediatric Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) Treatment Program

Compassionate Treatment for Children with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Children’s Health’s ARFID treatment program is one of the most comprehensive and successful in the U.S. Our 4-week program will help your child overcome their struggles with food so they can lead a life free from nutrition-related problems.

ARFID in children is an eating disorder in which a child imposes intense limits on the types of food they will eat and how much food they will eat. Though Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder seems like anorexia, children with ARFID aren’t worried about their body image, size or weight. Rather, they are so picky that their eating habits affect their health, growth, social life and family life.

ARFID often starts when a child is young. It can affect their growth and development because they don’t get all the nutrients they need. It can also affect a child’s health, mood, behavior and energy level.

Our experts at Children's Health℠ have helped many children overcome ARFID. We use proven treatments to help them embrace new foods and get them on track for a healthy future.

Contact us

New Patient: 214-456-8899
Fax: 469-303-4095 
Ste P4300


Fax: 469-303-4095
Ste P4300

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Psych McGarrahan Office

World-renowned ARFID experts

Our center partners with UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s premier teaching hospitals and healthcare research centers. As part of our ARFID program, your child will be treated by top psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in ARFID and other eating disorders. Our team is so renowned, other doctors and mental health professionals come to learn from us at our annual eating disorder symposium.

4-Week Outpatient Program for Children Ages 5 to 17

We offer a 4-week, outpatient treatment program for children ages 5 to 17. Children attend the program Monday to Friday for about the length of a school day. Over the course of 4 weeks, your child will benefit from:

  • Individual and family therapy to address behavior and eating habits, stressful or traumatic events, and identify any other mental or physical issues. We use games and fun activities to connect with younger children. And we help your family create a behavior plan to inspire your child to expand the foods they eat.
  • Group therapy to help children and teens support one another as they overcome fears around food and eating. We have different groups for younger children and teens.
  • Support for school and homework with our certified teachers who work with your child for 2 hours a day to make sure they stay current with their schoolwork during treatment.
  • Occupational therapy to identify the textures, odors, temperatures and colors that may trigger your child, and gradually work with them to get better at identifying and trying new foods.
  • Experiential therapy to help your child connect to their body and feelings through art, music and recreation therapy.
  • Meal therapy to help your child slowly experience new foods, one bite at a time. We have the patience and expertise to overcome spitting out, crying or delays at mealtimes. We can empathize with the anxiety that eating certain foods can cause.
  • Medication management to help with problems like anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, self-injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder. These problems can contribute to ARFID.

As a parent, you’ll also receive a lot of helpful training and support from the Children’s Health team. For a few hours each week you will attend:

  • Parent skills group to teach you how to set limits and motivate your child. We’ll empower you to continue the work of expanding what your child eats. We’ll help you feel confident that your child is getting what they need. And we’ll practice ways to stay calm and relaxed when you need to.
  • Multi-family therapy to help you connect with other families experiencing ARFID, so you can share tips, tricks and struggles.

World-renowned doctors and psychologists

Our center collaborates closely with UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s premier teaching hospitals and healthcare research centers. As part of our ARFID program, your child will be treated by some of the top psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in eating disorders. Doctors and mental health professionals from around the U.S. come to our annual eating disorder symposium to learn from us each year.

A state-of-the-art facility

We know that a pleasant environment can help people feel better and more relaxed. That’s why we’ve designed our facility to be bright, fun and inviting. Our facility includes outdoor spaces, recreational spaces, and therapy rooms that look out onto our gardens. Your child can read, play games and listen to music in rooms that are designed with them in mind.

Our ARFID program is separate from our other eating disorder programs

We are the only program in the country that has an ARFID program that’s completely separate from our other eating disorder programs. We keep the ARFID program very small so that children and families get the care and attention they need so they can get on a better path in only 4 weeks.

We provide treatment and support for the whole family because we know that eating is an important, lifelong family ritual. Families develop bonds with other ARFID families that often last beyond the program. And they leave with a new enthusiasm for their own family.

Meet the Care Team