Feeding therapy is a type of therapy that helps children with various kinds of feeding difficulties. These difficulties can range from being a picky eater to problems with chewing, swallowing, or eating solid foods. Feeding therapy is a solution for individuals who have feeding difficulties or nutritional deficiencies by teaching them healthy eating habits and developing a healthy diet.
For many children, mealtimes are stressful and this leads to negative associations with food. Feeding therapy can help children develop positive associations with food, enjoy mealtimes and develop healthier lifestyles.
When Should You Receive Feeding Therapy
There are many reasons why a child might need feeding therapy.
Feeding Therapy can help with feeding difficulties associated with cleft lip or palate, cerebral palsy, or Down syndrome. Other children may have difficulty eating because of developmental delays or sensory processing disorders. And some children are simply picky eaters.
If a child has trouble eating, they may not get the nutrients they need. This can lead to poor growth, development delays, and other medical problems. Feeding therapy can help improve a child’s nutrition and prevent these problems.
Who Will You Be Working With
Feeding therapy usually involves working with a speech therapist, occupational therapist, or feeding therapist. The therapist will help the child learn new skills and improve their ability to eat by providing direct treatment to the entire family.
Eastern Therapy's therapists are licensed healthcare professionals who have specialized training in the assessment and treatment of feeding difficulties. They work with children of all ages, from infants to teens.
Feeding therapy is important because it can help children with feeding difficulties improve their nutrition and overall health.
Good nutrition is essential for growth and development, it can also help prevent medical problems.
What to Expect from Feeding Therapy
Feeding therapy is a type of therapeutic treatment that seeks to help a child with difficulties regarding eating. The main goal of feeding therapy is to improve the child’s ability to eat, as well as help the family develop healthy eating habits.
Feeding therapy usually involves working closely with speech therapists, occupational therapists, and/or other feeding specialists.
During treatment, the therapist will provide direct care to the child while also teaching the family about how to better support their loved one during mealtimes.
Feeding therapy will look different for everyone. Depending on the child's needs, the therapist may work on:
- Skills for biting, chewing, sipping and sucking
- Managing liquids/solids inside the mouth
- Skills for eating from a variety of utensils and drinking from a variety of cups
- Recommendations on supportive chairs or adaptive feeding utensils
- Working on sensory acceptance of smells, textures, and the sight of different foods
- Working inside the mouth to desensitize the gag reflex
As mentioned above, feeding therapy seeks to aid individuals in overcoming their dietary restrictions and difficulties. Below are some of the benefits of feeding therapy
Supports nutrition, health, and growth
Good nutrition is essential for children’s growth and development. Feeding therapy can help make sure that children are getting the nutrients they need in order to grow and develop properly.
Tolerate a wider variety of foods and consistencies
With time and practice, children who partake in feeding therapy can learn to tolerate a wider variety of foods and consistencies. This increased tolerance can lead to a more diverse and nutritious diet.
Improved quality of life for the child and family
Feeding difficulties can be a source of immense stress for both the child and their family. Receiving treatment can help improve the quality of life for everyone involved.
Less stress involving food preparation for families
One of the benefits of feeding therapy is that families can learn tips and tricks from the therapist to make mealtimes less stressful. This can involve learning how to better prepare food that the child will enjoy and be more likely to eat.
Positive food associations
Feeding therapy can help children develop positive food associations. This means that children may be more likely to try new foods and experiment with different flavors if they have positive experiences during mealtimes.
Swallowing disorders can be extremely dangerous and lead to choking or aspiration. Feeding therapy can help increase safety by teaching the proper way to eat and swallow food.
Improved social skills
Feeding therapy can also help children develop social skills such as eye contact, conversation, and table manners. These skills can be beneficial in both social and academic settings.
Improved independence with self-feeding skills
Many children who receive feeding therapy learn independent self-feeding skills, including using feeding utensils and drinking from a variety of cups. This can be a huge milestone for both the child and their family.
If you think that your child may benefit from feeding therapy, please reach out to us. Our team of licensed healthcare professionals would be more than happy to provide support to your family.