Being a parent or a teacher if you are concerned about your child's food selectivity, food or texture refusal, mealtime tantrums, reduces food or liquid intake, or swallowing ,your child may be benefit from feeding therapy. Feeding Therapy is used to help infants and children who have difficulties in sucking, chewing, feeding or swallowing. The earlier a child is in therapy to address these problems the better their growth, nutrition and future eating outcomes. A trained occupational therapist / speech therapist provides feeding therapy.
What is feeding therapy ?
Feeding therapy is more than just “teaching a child to eat.” Therapists work closely with patients and their families to determine the source of the child's difficulties and develop very specific therapies to make the entire process of eating easier and more enjoyable.
Mealtimes are a great time for bonding and enjoying new experiences. Unfortunately, for some children it can be stressful and challenging time. If any of the behaviors below are affecting a child's ability to safely eat, the child may benefit from receiving a feeding evaluation.
Difficulty chewing foods, typically swallowing food in whole pieces
Difficulty swallowing foods or refuses to swallow certain types of food consistencies
Refuses to eat certain food textures or has difficulty transitioning from one texture to another texture (ex : from bottle feedings to purees ,from purees to soft solids or mixed textured foods)
Gags on , avoids or is very sensitive to certain food textures ,food temperatures and/or flavors
Struggles to control and coordinate moving food around in mouth, chewing and preparing to swallow food
Fussy or irritable with feeding
The child seems congestion during feedings or after
Frequently coughs when eating
Refuses or rarely tries new foods
Has difficulty transitioning from gastric tube(G tube)feedings to oral feedings
Negative mealtime behaviors(infant cries,arches,pulls away from food ,child refuses to eat ,tantrums at mealtimes or shuts -down and does not engage in mealtime)
Infant demonstrating signs of difficulty with coordinating the suck /swallow/breath pattern during bottle or breastfeeding
Feeding time taking longer than 30 minutes for infant and 30 to 40 minutes for toddlers or young children
Known to be a ‘’picky eater “ who eats a limited variety of foods or consistencies
Skills addressed in Feeding Therapy:
During the feeding therapy, therapists work with children to provide them with the skills they need to make mealtime more enjoyable and nutritious. The skills taught to each child are determined based on the patient's needs and may differ from those below.
The most common skills taught include:
Improve the overall eating experience
We provide treatment approaches like:
Sensory Integration Therapy
SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) approach to feeding
The SOFFI Method: Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants
The Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention
Oral placement therapy