Children who have difficulty chewing or swallowing or have aversions to certain food textures, benefit from feeding and/or swallowing therapy. Our speech and language pathologists and occupational therapists work together to evaluate your child’s feeding challenges. Our team assesses the child’s oral structures, swallowing abilities, risk for aspiration, behavior, diet, fine motor abilities and other factors related to eating and drinking. We consult with your child’s other specialists, such as nutritionists, ENTs, GI physicians, psychologists, etc. to ensure that our therapy approach is supporting all the needs of your child. After an evaluation, we might recommend feeding therapy, a food chaining approach, and/or a home feeding program. We also can provide adaptive equipment for self feeding and/or to help properly position a child for safe swallowing.
Feeding therapy addresses physical and sensory processing disruptions to a child’s ability to safely and efficiently chew and swallow food to maintain a healthy diet. Feeding therapy is conducted by a trained and licensed occupational therapist or speech and language pathologist in a one-on-one or group setting. Groups are a great opportunity for children to experience and engage in food interactions with peers that promotes modeling of skills.
Feeding therapy for children is catered to meet their individual needs. From an onlooker’s perspective it appears fun and playful, incorporating preferred games and toys. This creates a positive environment and allows for increased food interactions as well as opportunities to learn about the nutritional value of food, recognize hunger and participate in food preparation.
Our therapists are trained in a variety of evidence-based methods and work closely with children and families to find the “best fit” for intervention. Utilizing an engaging approach, our therapists work with children and their families to increase their comfort and enjoyment around food and mealtimes.
Our training backgrounds include:
A referral for a Feeding Evaluation is recommended if…
- Food range of less than 20 foods, especially if foods are being lost over time with no new foods incorporated
- Typically require more than 30 minutes to complete meals
- Demonstrate stress, anxiety, or noncompliance during meals
- Difficulties with chewing and swallowing
- Negative mealtime experiences (i.e. meals are not enjoyable and feel like a battle)
- Aversion or avoidance of all foods in specific texture, colors, smells, or food group
- Gag, retch or vomit before/during/after meals
- Delays transition to baby food and/or solid foods
- Exhibit frequent upper respiratory problems (illness, coughing, congestion)
- Steadily lose weight, struggle to gain weight, or below growth curve for their age