What is Feeding Therapy?
The goal of feeding therapy is to help infants and children learn to eat and obtain optimal nutrition while supporting parents and caregivers in developing normal, effective feeding patterns and behaviors. Therapies are targeted towards an individual child’s underlying issues, and they can include food exploration, developing oral motor skills, strengthening for weaning off a feeding tube or advancing a child’s diet and addressing the challenges around sensory processing and selective/picky eaters.
Our Feeding Therapists
Feeding therapy is typically provided by a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) or Occupational Therapist (OT), and additional support can be provided by pediatricians, GI’s, nutritionists, and neurologists. There are unique requirements per therapy discipline for obtaining certification that can be referenced by the American Speech-Hearing Association or the American Occupational Therapy Association.
What are the Benefits of Feeding Therapy?
Feeding therapy is strongly recommended if your child is having difficulty eating and can be very helpful in dealing with a wide range of feeding challenges. Therapy can help alleviate reliance on a feeding tube, difficulty with breast or bottle feeding, food and texture aversions, history of recurrent pneumonia, poor weight gain, anxiety or negative mealtime behaviors, GI issues, resistance to trying new foods or transitioning from pureed foods, and more.
Perhaps most beneficial, feeding therapy can help guide your child to a place of independent eating and happy meal times.
TES’ Approach to Feeding Therapy
How do we make therapy fun?
Our therapists work to ensure the child’s strengths and preferences are taken into account. We get down to the child level and work with the family to make eating less stressful and more enjoyable.
How do we work as a team?
Our therapists consult with other members of the child’s care team to ensure we are meeting the needs of the whole child. Whenever possible we co-treat with other care providers and work to ensure continuity of care throughout treatment.
How do we include the family?
Families are encouraged to take part in therapy. We utilize a caregiver coaching model that ensures families are achieving a level of comfort with feeding even when our providers are not present.
FAQs About Feeding Therapy
How do you explain Feeding Therapy to a child?
In feeding therapy we explain what we will be doing and tell children they’ll be able to have fun with food. We take all measures to reduce stress and make mealtime fun and productive.
How can I do Feeding Therapy at home?
Because each child’s needs are unique, families should follow the prescribed techniques taught by the treating therapist ensuring that the family is following safety protocols to avoid the possibility of choking or aspiration.
Is Feeding Therapy considered Occupational Therapy?
No, feeding therapy can be a part of the prescribed goals of both Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy.
What does Feeding Therapy consist of?
Feeding therapy can be done in the child’s home, in a clinic, or in a school setting. First steps include an evaluation, a detailed health history, and an inventory of the child’s current diet. The therapist may also look in your child’s mouth, check oral motor planning and strength and watch them eat. Following the assessment, therapy may be recommended to address deficits. Therapy typically takes one of two approaches: child led or behavioral. You know your child best, so it’s recommended you talk with the therapist about what type of approach they will use.
Our Therapists Credentials
Our therapists possess all required state licensing and maintain continuing education in feeding therapy.