Does My Child Need Feeding Therapy?

Take the Questionnaire from Feeding Matters.org

The following are signs & symptoms of food aversion or selectivity:

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  • Limited range of food choices (less than 20)
  • Extreme preference for certain brands of food
  • Anxiety when faced with a new food item
  • Inability to eat foods regularly eaten at home, when not at home
  • Failure to thrive
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • ​Difficulty moving food around in the mouth
  • Frequent vomiting when served certain foods
  • Frequent gagging when served certain foods
  • Extended mealtimes

COMMON MYTHS

“All kids are picky, won’t my child grow out of it?”: Only 36% of children on average will outgrow their picky eating. 

“Eating is instinctive!” Children that struggle with food often need help to learn how to eat. Eating requires all your organs, your muscles, senses, in addition to other factors!

“If they are hungry, they will eat”: This is NOT true. Only up to 6 weeks of life humans are appetite driven. The body’s primary priority is first breathing, second posture, and THIRD eating. 

It is important to realize that most kids with developmental issues often present first with feeding problems. Early intervention is best so it’s best to start therapy as soon as possible to catch those issues while the brain is still developing. 

It is very important to get kids started in feeding therapy prior to 3 years of age. After 3 is when developmental changes shift their perception and feeding challenges become harder to eliminate. Also most children’s food preferences are formed as early as 2-3 years old.

Also,  you should consider feeding therapy if your child will not eat foods that are providing the nutrition that is required to thrive (i.e. fruits and vegetables) and has a diet that is limited to starches (pasta, bread), and sugar. 

Learn More about the SOS feeding approach that we use, including a FREE online workshop for parents! 

Click here to check out Our Group SOS Feeding Therapy Classes for Children

Behavioral Therapy vs. The Foodology Feeding Therapy Approach

While behavior therapy may have its place for certain types of needs, it is not the place to address feeding issues.  Why not behavioral therapy?  Behavioral therapy assumes that the child isn’t eating because they are trying to be controlling or difficult in some way and it is their behavior that needs to change. If the child has underlying issues of function, coordination, or lacks oral motor skills, it’s as if you are forcing them to walk a tight rope without good balance. If you don’t have the skill, it is main the reason they are refusing. Only 8% of feeding issues are behavioral, which means that in 92% of kids with feeding issues, it comes down to skill and sensory deficits that need to be remediated for the child to be successful and enjoy food. Let us help you tease the real issues behind your child’s feeding issues.

Kick Bad Habits

Does your child still suck their thumb? Have you unsuccessfully tried to get them to stop?

This behavior is difficult to stop because it is rooted in the pleasure centers of their brain.

It is so imperative that they STOP these BAD habits! It affects:

* Mouth and dental development ( open bite and overbite)
* Pronunciation of certain speech sounds 
* Skin issues on the affected thumb
* Social consequences

We work through a gentle, easy to follow 4 week program, 30 minutes per week, that eliminates this 

Recommended Readings

Chatoor I. Sensory food aversions in infants and toddlers. Zero to Three. January 2009:44-49.http://main.zerotothree.org/site/DocServer/29-3_Chatoorv.pdf?docID=7961

Dorfman, Kelly. What’s eating your child? : the hidden connections between food and childhood ailments : anxiety, recurrent ear infections, stomachaches, picky eating, rashes, ADHD, and more : and what every parent can do about it. New York, NY: Workman Pub, 2011. Print.
https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Eating-Your-Child-Connection/dp/0761161198

Fishbein M, Cox S, Walbert L, Fraker C. Comprehensive treatment of feeding aversion in children. EmpoweredParents Web site. http://www.empoweredparents.com/pickyeating/pickyeating7.htm.

Keen D.V. Childhood autism, feeding problems and failure to thrive in early infancy. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2008;17:209–216.

Kodak T, Piazza C.C. Assessment and behavioral treatment of feeding and sleeping disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2008;17:887–905

Laud R.B, Girolami P.A, Boscoe J.H, Gulotta C.S. Treatment outcomes for severe feeding problems in children with autism spectrum disorder. Behavior Modification. 2009;33:520–536.

Leung AK, Robson WL. The toddler who does not eat. Am Fam Physician. 1994;49(8):1789–800. 

Shore BA, Babbitt RL, Williams KE, Coe DA, Snyder A. Use of texture fading in the treatment of food selectivity. J Appl Behav Anal . 1998;31(4):621-633. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1284152&blobtype=pdf

Strickland, Elizabeth, Suzanne McCloskey, and Roben Ryberg. Eating for autism : the 10-step nutrition plan to help treat your child’s autism, Asperger’s, or ADHD. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2009. Print.

Wheeler, Marcy. Mealtime and children on the Autism Spectrum: beyond picky, fussy, and fads. https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/mealtime-and-children-on-the-autism-spectrum-beyond-picky-fussy-and-fads​