Helping children form a healthy relationship with food for life
At GO PEDS, we offer evaluation and treatment for infants and children with feeding difficulties. Reasons for referral to our feeding team include:
- Selective diet (“picky eaters”)
- Poor weight gain/failure to thrive
- Gagging and/or vomiting with feeding
- Difficulty progressing from breast or bottle to baby foods
- Difficulty progressing from baby foods to table foods
- Coughing or choking with liquids or solids
- Difficulty chewing and/or swallowing food
- Crying, fussiness or tantrums at mealtime
- Feeding tube dependency
Understanding a Feeding Evaluation
Our feeding team consists of an occupational therapist and speech pathologist with advanced training in the areas of feeding development, dysphagia (chewing/swallowing difficulties), feeding disorders, and sensory integration.
Both parent and child attend the evaluation. A detailed medical, developmental, sensory and feeding history is completed via interview with parents. When appropriate, the child is observed eating a typical meal provided by parents.
Strategies to improve feeding are discussed and demonstrated at the initial evaluation. The family leaves the evaluation with a feeding home program tailored to their child’s specific needs.
Additional referrals to a dietician, psychologist, or other specialist may be recommended with primary care physician agreement.
After the Evaluation
Following the evaluation, feeding treatment sessions are scheduled with occupational and/or speech therapy as needed. Some children require weekly individual feeding sessions. Others progress by working with their parents on their home programs, returning for additional treatment sessions at 4-12 week intervals. Other children will benefit best by enrolling in group feeding treatment.
Group Feeding Treatment
The Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding, developed by pediatric psychologist Dr. Kay Toomey, is designed for children ages 2 and older with limited diets.
Affectionately known as “Food School,” this evidence-based treatment is a positive, play-based, systematic desensitization approach to improving feeding skills.
SOS is offered in a small group setting with licensed therapists trained in this approach. In addition to expanding a child’s diet, SOS addresses the positioning, sensory integration, and oral motor needs of each child. SOS is a 12-week program that meets weekly for 45 minutes each session. Caregiver education is an important component of each session. For this reason, primary caregivers must attend the sessions with their children.
Learn More About Feeding Clinic
Parents with concerns about their children’s feeding should first speak with their primary care physicians. Physician referral is required to schedule a feeding evaluation.
For more information or to ask questions, contact Genesis Outpatient Pediatric Therapy at 563-421-3497.