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.

Fussy eating includes children who have restricted diets caused by picky eating habits. This can impact their ability to meet their nutritional needs. The goal of feeding therapy is to help patients develop normal, effective feeding patterns and behaviors.

Empowering Children Through Feeding Therapy
Child Feeding Solutions in Sydney

When should a child be referred for feeding therapy?

  • 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.
  • Frequently coughs when eating.
  • Gags and chokes when eating.
  • Frequently vomits during or immediately after eating or drinking.
  • Refuses or rarely tries new foods.
  • Pushes food away.
  • 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 infants, 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.
Feeding Therapy Clinic in Sydney

What skills are taught in feeding therapy?

During feeding therapy, our best speech therapists in Sydney will work with your children to provide them with the skills they need to make meal time more enjoyable and nutritious. The skills taught to each child are determined based on the patient’s needs and may differ from those below.

  • Oral skills. Some children may lack the skills needed to eat and/or drink due to developmental delays, illness, allergies and a variety of other factors. When this is the case, feeding therapists work with patients to teach them how to control and coordinate chewing, sipping, sucking swallowing and the like while eating and drinking. Therapists also work with patients to increase each child’s oral strength and range of motion.
  • Food orientation. Due to illness, allergies, sensory aversion or developmental delays, some children may need assistance broadening the amount and type of foods they eat. This is very important and will allow the child to better enjoy meals and eat a more balanced, healthy diet. Therapists work with patients and their families to increase the amount and types of foods the child is willing to eat. Many patients, especially those with sensory aversion or those who have had limited exposure to a variety of foods, may be taught skills on how to reduce their sensitivities to foods and their textures.
  • Improve the overall eating experience. Whether a child has struggled to eat because of illness or allergies, a sensory aversion food, and/or reduced oral skills, he or she may have developed negative feelings toward eating and mealtime in the process. As a result many children, and their families, benefit from learning how to create positive eating and drinking experiences. Therapists work with patients and their families to improve the child’s overall mealtime routine and create positive associations with food. Therapists also work with patients to help them gain the self-feeding independence that many of them crave by teaching skills like drinking from a cup, eating with a spoon or fork or drinking from a straw. By teaching the child how to enjoy meal time and retraining the child’s caregiver on how to create a positive mealtime experience, meals and snacks may become easier for the entire family.
Speech & Feeding Footer logo

Copyright @ 2023 by Speech & Feeding. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Locally - Local Experts

Instagram iconFacebook icon