If you suspect ARFID and you are researching and starting there I also suggest you seek out a therapist specializing and treating pediatric feeding disorders. Your child or teen or yourself may likely need a psychologist or psychiatrist and a cognitive behavioral therapy plan in conjunction with other therapy, but I can personally attest to what I know as an SLP working primarily with feeding since 2003 and that there is rarely a one factor root to very selective eating.
Maybe I shouldn’t mention ARFID at all but rather the fact that there are certain criterion that send a red flag for noticing a difference in what could be typical vs atypical or just a difference that is affecting lives in a way that is less than ideal or optimum. Whether struggles in the arena of eating and mealtime began due to this or that there WILL often be accompanying oral motor feeding patterns, sensory disturbances and associations that have been created likely without the person or their caregivers absolutely knowing that those inefficient patterns or differences in anatomy were present.
It can be as “simple” as a history of early feeding difficulty, a slew of “wait and see” mindset determined by yourself or a medical professional, etc, but the bottom line is that a thorough evaluation can at least look into background history and help identify patterns and along with that comes the feedback from someone with experience of knowing what other patterns including oral motor function and sensory and a whole body mindset to further investigate all possible influences and where a starting point should be At the TIME of assessment.
There is no need to fixate on why “this was overlooked” or “why didn’t I or they identify this or that” aside from having a newfound perspective or new information. This may be opinion but I also feel it is helpful in making strides in the present. What do you know now, today, that could lead to a direction of a plan and progress? Stay there and know that if you haven’t considered or haven’t been aware of the possibilities, that now you are and you can get started right away on seeming solutions and implementing a plan. Sometimes the “plan” is simply letting all of the new information soak in and allowing empathy to root in the ways that you will certainly find are necessary. We are an interconnected web of information and if you start somewhere that can lead you to the next step then you are already making progress in the journey to increased awareness and action. There’s a lot to be said for that! I am opening this up to hopefully allow connections to be made in whatever location you are, there are numerous resources available and sometimes it is just a matter of logistics and experience and people connecting with each other so that the journey can begin for you.
I encourage you to check out the Feeding Matters resources provided in this link! https://www.feedingmatters.org/pfd_and_arfid/