Children have to learn the process of eating, swallowing and coordinating food/drinks and utensils. They start by sucking and learn how to eat solid foods and drink from a cup.
Most children will have some trouble learning how to eat and drink, at first. Drinks may spill from their mouths and they may push food back out or gag on new foods. This is normal and should go away. A child with a feeding disorder will keep having trouble. Some children will eat only certain foods, or they may take a long time to eat.
Feeding therapy is more than just “teaching a child to eat.” Our skill Speech-Language Pathologists & Occupational Therapists take a comprehensive approach targeting muscular coordination, sensory processes, and social experiences associated with eating.
Our therapists work closely with clients and their families to determine the source of the child’s difficulties and develop specific therapies and techniques to best assist.
Feeding therapy works towards mealtime becoming more enjoyable and nutritious. The skills taught are determined based on the child’s needs, and may differ from child to child.
Signs a Child Should be Referred to Feeding Therapy:
Refusing to eat, throwing tantrums at mealtimes or “shutting-down” and not engaging in mealtime.
A restricted diet and refusals to try a variety of foods or new foods.
Difficulty chewing foods, "stuffing food" or typically swallowing food in whole pieces.
Difficulty swallowing foods or refuses to swallow certain types of food consistencies, textures.
Considered to be a “picky eater”.
Very sensitive to certain food textures, food temperatures and/or flavors.
Struggling to control and coordinate moving food around in mouth, chewing and preparing to swallow food.
Frequent coughing, choking or vomiting during mealtime.
Causes of Feeding and Swallowing Disorders:
There are many possible causes including:
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