SPACE-ARFID for Parents

Eli Lebowitz and his colleagues at Yale created an intervention called SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions). After establishing that it works well with general anxiety disorders, they tested it in families where kids have avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).

It worked! Parents who learned SPACE noticed that their kids have:

  • More food flexibility
  • Less food rigidity
  • The ability to eat in more varied food environments
  • Expanded their list of “safe food”
  • Less food-related stress

I was trained by Dr. Lebowitz to administer SPACE-ARFID. My 8-week online training course SPACE 4ED helps parents who want help managing their kids’ ARFID.

space 4Ed Training

Parent-Led Treatment to Supercharge Eating Disorder Recovery

“It’s like night and day. I went from feeling like there was nothing to do to seeing all the little things I could do to change things.”

— S. Perry

The SPACE solution

SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) is an evidence-based treatment program that helps kids who suffer from severe anxiety symptoms. For example, with ARFID, anxiety symptoms may include a short list of “safe foods,” not eating in restaurants, and having rigid eating patterns and rituals. With SPACE, children are the treatment targets, but parents are the ones who attend coaching sessions. 

SPACE is a great way to deal with eating disorder behaviors like food restrictions, refusal, and rituals. Because while the available treatments can be helpful, they require engagement from the kids and rarely teach parents on how to respond effectively to the ARFID behaviors when they show up at home.

With SPACE, I’m able to teach parents exactly what to do, what not to do, and how to make a difference in eating disorder behaviors.

Recently the creators of SPACE developed and tested SPACE-ARFID, which provides even more guidance about how I can help parents who are dealing with food restrictions, refusal, and rituals.

SPACE-ARFID is effective in helping parents help kids eat a greater variety of food, in more places. And the kids don’t need to show up or engage in a single session. Parents do the work, but the kids benefit from the treatment. This is especially helpful when the child is resistant to or downright refuses treatment.

One child whose parents completed the program proudly announced, “I’m not a picky eater anymore because I can try new foods.”

SPACE-ARFID for Parents

Parent training to reduce symptoms of extreme picky eating/ARFID

When parents face kids with picky eating or ARFID, they often feel overwhelmed and exhausted. This is because it takes tremendous effort to feed these children. The list of safe foods can dwindle by the day, shrinking your child’s (and your whole family’s) options and flexibility.

SPACE-ARFID helps children recover, but parents are the ones who attend coaching sessions. You don’t need to force kids to attend SPACE sessions. Your kid doesn’t need to be engaged or motivated to change their behavior for SPACE-ARFID to work.

SPACE-ARFID is a parent-led program that’s an effective way to:

  • Increase food flexibility
  • Reduce food rigidity
  • Function better in a variety of food environments
  • Expand the list of “accepted foods”
  • Decrease food-related stress
  • Reduce family accommodation
  • Teach parents to support children through resistance and fear

space 4Ed Training

Parent-Led Treatment to Supercharge Eating Disorder Recovery