Feeding therapy is available for individuals who have difficulty swallowing or have extremely selective eating habits, also considered “picky eating.” Responsive feeding therapy uses nurturing, trust, shared responsibility, and patience. These strategies promote a healthy relationship with food and guide caregivers to respond positively during meals. Therapy focuses on the child’s perspective of food and expands acceptance and eating abilities through play and exposure in a supportive environment.
Positive experience and
to a variety of foods
is the key!
Who may need feeding therapy?
Feeding therapy may be helpful for children who have any of the following:
Oral-Motor Deficits: difficulty chewing or swallowing safely, coughing or choking, difficulty drinking from age-appropriate cup/bottle, abnormally long mealtimes, difficulty breastfeeding
Medical Diagnoses Related to Feeding: reflux issues, difficulty transitioning from gastric tube (G-tube) to oral feedings, not meeting feeding development milestones, poor weight gain/loss, concerns of adequate nutrition, repeated episodes of pneumonia or respiratory illness
Sensory-Based or Behavioral Feeding Issues: fewer than 20 foods in diet, refusal or avoidance of certain food textures, temperatures, colors, flavors, food groups, gagging or vomiting, irritable at mealtime, unexpected mealtime behaviors (crying, running from table, anxiety, etc.)
How does feeding therapy help?
Assess Oral-Motor Skills and Mealtime Habits
Feeding requires oral-motor skills and ability to participate appropriately in mealtime routines.
A comprehensive feeding evaluation includes assessment of underlying medical conditions and oral-motor exam to consider coordination, strength, and function of structural and muscular mechanisms needed to safely bite, chew, suck, and swallow a variety of foods and liquids.
Decrease Sensory-Based Feeding Issues
Mealtimes involve sensory processing and regulation.
A child’s accepted diet offers important information about their nutritional intake and the ability to process sensory information related to various foods, drinks, and the mealtime environment. Differences in presentations, colors, textures, flavors, or temperatures of foods and drinks may be difficult.
Support Behavioral Feeding Issues
Eating involves social and emotional aspects.
Children often are unable to describe what’s happening in their bodies during mealtime, and may feel anxious or scared around new or unpreferred foods. Children may use behaviors to express their discomfort or depend on undesired mealtime habits.
Holistic & Responsive Strategies
Feeding therapy should address the whole child.
It’s possible there could be an unknown medical condition that may be contributing to feeding issues, such as reflux or tongue-tie. The whole child is assessed to determine which management is appropriate. A feeding therapist will work closely with other professionals if needed to ensure your child’s needs are met.
Are mealtimes stressful?
Call today to learn more about our specialized feeding therapy services.