Picky eaters, food aversions and swallowing issues are not uncommon and can lead to stressful mealtimes and nutritional issues. KidsAbility runs a feeding clinic based on theSequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Feeding Program founded by Dr. Kay Toomey– a fun step-by-step approach suitable for even the youngest toddler. The program focuses on helping kids become comfortable with trying new foods through creative play and conversation, thus reducing the stress commonly seen during mealtimes.
WOULD MY CHILD BENEFIT FROM ATTENDING FEEDING THERAPY?
KidsAbility’s Feeding Clinic may be beneficial if your child:
- Is a fussy eater
- Has poor weight gain
- Spits out foods, vomits, gags or has food or drink coming out of their nose when eating
- Has frequent mealtime battles
- Has difficulty transitioning from purees to solids by 12 months of age
- Has not weaned off baby foods by 18 months of age
- Aversion or avoidance of specific textures or nutrition groups
- Does not eat the same meals as the rest of the family
- Experiences meltdowns or cries during mealtimes
- Has very limited or restricted intake (less than 20 foods)
WHY DO SOME CHILDREN HAVE DIFFICULTY EATING?
There are many potential reasons why a child may have difficulty eating, or restricted food intake. For some children this may be due to swallowing difficulties from birth, or other medical conditions that impact on the muscle or nerve functions. For others, there may be a sensory sensitivity, anxiety due to a past choking experience or learned behaviours. Whatever the reason, the KidsAbility Feeding Clinic is able help kids work through these challenges and improve mealtime enjoyment and safety. Our skilled therapy team uses the SOS Feeding program to help children explore food and gradually increase their confidence with trying new foods and textures.
Sessions will be held with one of our trained Speech Therapists or Occupational Therapists. They will start by looking at any past and current concerns or behaviours and then help set some realistic goals with you and your child.
All sessions are planned around individual children’s goals. For some, that may be trying a wider range of coloured vegetables, meats or attempting varied textures. For others, it may just be to tolerate having a certain type of food in the same room, or on the table in front of them.
Parents are involved in the session so that the therapist is able to model for you and teach the skills needed to carry through to mealtimes at home. The sessions are often messy and fun, with interesting actions or reactions. More often that not this includes children trying – and enjoying – something they have previously rejected.
The sessions are very step-wise and progressive, allowing children to feel comfortable with each new texture and taste before moving onto the next.
The program is offered in blocks of 10 treatment sessions. Some children progress well in the first block and don’t require further treatment. Other children may require more than one block of treatment. Sessions are held weekly and it is essential that you are able to commit for the whole treatment block for optimal outcomes. The program is heavily dependent on parents participation and will require parents to assist with food prep for the sessions and attend parent meetings.
DO I NEED A REFERRAL?
KidsAbility highly recommends all parents meet with their child’s paediatrician to discuss their concerns. Some insurance providers will require a physician referral. Please contact your insurance provider to confirm if this is required with your plan.
HOW DO I BOOK AN APPOINTMENT AT THE FEEDING CLINIC?
Call or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see one of our Feeding Clinic clinicians.