Our Philosophy on Feeding Challenges / Picky Eating
We believe that a child's behavior is always trying to tell us
something. We do
not believe kids refuse to eat out of defiance. Children may learn to
repeat certain behaviors, but we beleive there is always an underlying
cause that started a particular behavior.
Children may have trouble eating or become extremely selective about the foods they will eat for various reasons. A few scenarios we commonly see are challenges related to:
- Feelings or
sensations caused by the presence of a food or the feel of the food in the mouth
- An inability to chew a food: the muscles of the mouth and body need to work in certain patterns for a
child to be a safe and independent eater. Just because a food goes in
the mouth and is swallowed does not mean your child has the skills or
endurance to eat it safely.
- An inability
to clear a certain food that later causes a choking feeling
What to Expect During Evaluations
During your child's initial evaluation, your therapist will determine whether your child has adequate strength and stability in their oral / facial musculature and the identify the eating skills that are strengths and those that are challenging for your child. Sensory skills, behaviors, aversions, likes and dislikes, breathing, and swallowing skills will be taken into account. Your therapist will explore your child's history with foods, figure out why your child is having
challenges eating all foods or certain classes or types of foods. and ultimately provide you with a definitive cause of your child's challneges with eating.
What to Expect During Feeding Therapy
Once your therapist has performed an initial evaluation, a comprehensive treatment plan will be developed. If your child has allergies, food restrictions for cultural / personal / medical reasons, medications, reflux, etc. these will all be factored in to the plan.
There are over 10 levels of purees and solids that kids consume. In addition there are 25 steps used to eat an individual food from presentaion to mouth. We will
determine the level appropriate for your child during the evaluation to
guide you in food selection for you child.
We do not engage in force feeding or negative reinforcement practices. As we develop your child's skills we will also develop a joy for eating through on-going postive experiences with healthy foods.
Non-oral Eaters / Tube Fed Children
If your child is not eating by mouth due to tube placement, we will focus on pre-feeding and feeding skill development and guide you and your child through the developmental process of eating. Some families and children may seek tube removal while others will not. In either case we can move your child to a higher level of success and confidence with skills and foods.
Preemies & Newborns
Confused by conflicting information or needing guidance?
We can evaluate your child's skills and help you choose appropriate nipples / bottles to encourage optimal feeding and appropriate weight gain. If you would like to breastfeed we will work with you and your child to facilitate latching, volume/ weight gain, and skill development.
If your child has a tube due to extension patterns in the body, poor sucking skills, or respiratory issues, we can guide you in next steps toward breast and / or bottle feeding and texture progression as appropriate.