Few things are as scary as parenting a child who has difficulty eating. In pediatric feeding therapy, our goal is to help children become more independent, adventurous eaters.
Eating is one of the most complex activities we engage in every day. Our occupational and speech therapists are skilled in assessing oral motor, sensory, fine motor, and gross motor skills required for successful eating. We also assess environmental and psychosocial factors that may be impacting your child’s eating. We proactively collaborate with your child’s medical team to ensure that any underlying medical issues are addressed.
We utilize a responsive approach to feeding therapy, emphasizing positive experiences with food. We do not utilize behavior-based approaches (rewards programs, incentives, consequences). Each child’s treatment plan is customized to target their specific areas of challenge while respecting their autonomy. As your child’s skills and confidence increase, we gradually introduce new foods in a pressure-free, sustainable way.
We can help with:
Who may benefit?
Any child or young adult experiencing feeding challenges that are preventing them from living life to the fullest could potentially benefit from our feeding therapy services. While we serve clients with a wide variety of diagnoses, a specific diagnosis is not necessary to participate in therapy services.
We also acknowledge that difficulties do not disappear at age 21, and welcome young adult clients to our facility.
What does the process look like?
It is hard to know whether or not your child needs therapy. Parents of children experiencing challenges or with a recent diagnosis often don’t know where to start. We invite parents who have concerns about their child’s eating abilities to schedule an occupational therapy evaluation. At your evaluation appointment, we want you to ask every imaginable question you have. When it concerns the health and well-being of your child, there is no such thing as a stupid question. We will listen. The goal of an evaluation is to create a customized treatment plan. This treatment plan’s purpose is to achieve goals that have been collaboratively set by the parents, therapist, child, and when appropriate, other healthcare providers. In order to arrive at a treatment plan, we do an evaluation. Every feeding therapy evaluation consists a thorough medical and personal history, including feeding history, strengths, challenges, personality, daily life. Based on your child’s history and presentation, additional assessments will be administered. We will also observe your child eating preferred foods. In total, this process helps to determine if your child is likely to benefit from feeding therapy services. If so, we will work with you to establish a customized treatment schedule and to set goals for your child.
We strongly believe that meals should never be stressful, and positive experiences with food are our number one priority in feeding therapy. We use a responsive therapy approach that does NOT utilize incentives, force-feeding, or rewards programs. We carefully design each session’s activities to target the child’s goals in engaging ways without pressure. Additionally, we use the latest research and evidence to shape our feeding therapy interventions, and are always happy to share this supporting evidence with you. As parents, you are encouraged to join your child’s session so that you may learn how to support their progress at home. You will also have 24-hour, secure access to your child’s treatment notes, reports, and any other documents through your online client portal.
Therapy should never be part of your normal routine. All treatment plans will have a start and end date based on goals. Upon goal achievement, therapy will end. Your child’s new skills may then be solidified in their home, school, and community and your family may relax and enjoy a break from appointments. After a break, a new evaluation may or may not be indicated for further services according to your child’s needs.