What is Feeding Therapy?

Management of feeding difficulties as a parent can be a very stressful and tiring situation. As a commonly unknown services, feeding therapy involves modifying negative behaviors and providing sensory integration techniques to increase the number of foods in a child's diet. Auburn TLC can help decrease the stress, successfully introduce new foods, compensate for sensory-based difficulties and provide a home program to encourage carryover. Recent statistics show that approximately 20-50% of normally developing children and 70-89% of children with developmental delays are experiencing some type of feeding difficulty. 

Feeding Therapy involves evaluation and treatment of feeding problems associated with negative behaviors, sensory difficulties and/or fear of trying new foods. When presented with new or different foods, some children demonstrate behavioral issues, such as tantrums, crying, gagging and throwing or spitting out food. Other children experience aversions to certain textures and colors of food, which results in an inadequate diet. If your child eats a limited number of foods for any reason or you have concerns about his/her behavior at mealtimes, please seek a feeding evaluation. Our therapists have years of experience to help determine appropriate goals, elicit strategies and provide a home program to encourage carryover in other environmental settings.

Does my child need feeding therapy?

Answering "yes" to some of these questions, may indicate the need for feeding therapy:

  • Is my child a "picky" eater?

  • Is mealtime difficult and stressful?

  • Do I dread the idea of preparing a new meal for my family?

  • Am I  tired of bargaining with my child to get him/her to eat?

  • Do I feel defeated regarding my child's diet?

  • Do I avoid going to restaurants because of my child's behavior?

  • Am I a short-order cook, preparing more than one meal to suit everyone in my family?

We provide evaluations and therapy for children who exhibit negative behaviors associated with various textures and appearance or color, which can be described as the following:

  • Restricted range or variety of foods, usually less than 15 different foods

  • Behavior problems during mealtimes (i.e., throwing food, crying, screaming, spitting out food)

  • Negative behaviors exhibited when presented with new foods; complete refusal

  • Refusals of entire categories of food texture or nutrition groups

  • Usually eats different foods at a meal than rest of the family

  • Persistently reported by caregiver or physician as a “picky eater” 

  • Caregiver concerns regarding weight loss or decrease in BMI due to limited number of foods

  • Caregiver concerns regarding weight gain due to eating an unhealthy diet 

Auburn Therapy and Learning Center can help!

Auburn Therapy and Learning Center feeding therapists have helped hundreds of children over the years overcome feeding difficulties. Our therapists have over ten years of experience in this specific field. The feeding evaluation and treatment involves the speech-language pathologist documenting observations of the child’s behaviors. A detailed report is provided to the caregiver explaining the findings of the evaluation, as well as age-appropriate feeding therapy recommendations. During the initial assessment, we will evaluate:

  • oral-motor skills

  • behaviors

  • sensory difficulties (reactions to various textures/colors)

  • self-feeding skills (when applicable)

Our individualized feeding therapy sessions are tailored to each child’s needs. We take dietary needs and allergies into consideration when developing goals. The therapy sessions are conducted individually with each child. Carryover into the home environment is a key component in the success of feeding therapy. The family is provided with a program and recommendations to encourage generalization beyond the therapy setting. 
We strive to conduct low-stress feeding therapy sessions so that the child is comfortable and his/her appetite is not negatively impacted. The child enjoys playing games and we sometimes touch and play with foods during our sessions. This approach helps the child develop a positive attitude towards food.

 

We are excited to utilize our feeding therapy program for those in need. We will provide families with individualized feeding therapy plans, as well as necessary programs and recommendations. Please call our office with additional questions or to schedule a feeding evaluation at 334.734.5511.