Getting the Facts for Feeding Therapy
Do you think your child could benefit from feeding therapy? Have you noticed that your child is extremely picky, scared to try new things, not engaged in mealtimes, or not keeping up with growth for their age?
If you have any concerns, we would love to help! Here are a few things you should know about feeding therapy within our practice.
Feeding therapy is a tool we use to enhance a child’s quality of life. We know that eating is essential, so we strive to make the process of eating as easy as possible for the child and caregiver. We provide education to the caregiver on how to progress their child through mealtimes, with resources to promote carryover of skills within the home. Our goals are to broaden your child’s scope of foods, teach them the benefits of healthy eating, and develop oral motor skills needed for optimal growth and nutrition.
Signs your child might need Feeding Therapy:
For younger kids and babies
- Difficulty latching during breast feeding
- Difficulty in transitions: This includes difficulty taking liquids/formula/milk from a bottle, sippy cup or open cup. Difficulty transitioning between food stages or to solid foods. Not able to tolerate table foods or mashed foods
- Poor weight gain: they are not following the growth curve
- Arches their back or stiffens when feeding
- Cries or fusses when feeding
- Falls asleep when feeding
- Has problems breast feeding
- Has trouble breathing while eating and drinking
- Refuses to eat or drink
- Takes a long time to eat
- Has problems chewing
- Coughs or gags during meals
- Drools a lot or has liquid come out her mouth or nose
- Gets stuffy during meals
- Has a gurgly, hoarse, or breathy voice during or after meals
- Spits up or throws up a lot
- Cleft lip or palate
- Reflux or other stomach problems
For toddlers and older children
- Negative or avoidant behaviors during mealtimes
- Limited diet that includes less than 10 foods
- Limited diet that includes less than 20 foods
- Behaviors that include throwing up, gagging, spitting out, etc. while eating
- Poor weight gain
- Will only eat specific brands of foods (i.e. McDonald’s chicken nuggets)
- Does not eat from all food groups
Our Occupational Therapists take a sensory-based feeding approach to therapy. They focus on: oral motor skills, sensory sensitivities, progressing through food textures, and using adaptive equipment and tools to develop self-feeding skills.
They also use a process called food chaining, which is a child-friendly treatment approach that helps introduce new foods while building on the child’s past successful eating experiences. In this process, the child is presented with new foods that may be similar in taste, temperature, or texture to foods the child already likes and accepts.
Our Occupational Therapists have shown great success and progression in feeding therapy using feeding groups at our clinic. Our therapists are certified in the SOS Feeding Approach, a nationally and internationally recognized approach for assessing and treating children with feeding difficulties.
Our Speech Therapists use a motor-based feeding therapy approach that focuses on the child’s oral motor and swallowing skills (i.e. how the mouth and swallowing functions work). They focus on: developing the muscles of the mouth and tongue, improving breathing and sucking functions, and developing specific mouth/jaw/tongue movement patterns, changing the way you hold your baby or the way your child sits when eating.
Our therapists are trained in VitalStim Therapy ; a non-invasive therapy to help swallowing using electrical stimulation to aid muscle strengthening. Our Speech Therapists will apply VitalStim while simultaneously working with the child on swallowing exercises. We also provide the caregiver with education and training on how to use strengthening and positioning techniques at home for optimal progress throughout therapy.
Reasons why Carolina Therapy Connection is for you:
Uniquely, we offer both Speech and Occupational Therapy approaches to Feeding Therapy, which gives us a wealth of experience and expertise to provide the ideal approach for your child. Our therapists are pediatric specialists, which means they all have advance training in working with children with special needs and their families. It’s always beneficial for children to be seen by pediatric therapists, as opposed to therapists who also see adults, because the training and knowledge is focused to that specific age group.
We are knowledgable in developmental goals for children and know the best ways to help your child reach those goals to the best of their ability. Since we are a private practice, we take a family-centered approach to care and work with the child’s entire team. We encourage all parents to be involved in each therapy session.
We conduct in-depth, comprehensive evaluations to determine the best plan of care for your child. Each treatment session is focused on their individual goals and areas of growth of your child. Our therapy is tailored for just for you!
Our feeding therapists have 15-20 years of experience with children and a variety of feeding disorders. They have certifications in SOS and AEIOU approaches. Our therapists have significant training from around the country on feeding approaches, treatment strategies, and focused plans, while also having consistent collaboration with other professionals in the community to guarantee the best care.
Carolina Therapy Connection cares about your child! We strive to always provide the absolute best experience for your child and family. If feeding therapy is something you are interested in or if you want additional information, feel free to contact us today!