What Is Feeding Therapy?
At All About Speech & Language, we provide treatment to those who are experiencing difficulty with feeding and swallowing. We understand that every child is different and unique in their own way. That is why we feel it is important to create a comprehensive and personalized treatment program to meet each child’s needs.
In order to determine the best treatment for each child, our Speech-Language Pathologists begin by evaluating your child. Once a comprehensive feeding evaluation has been completed, evidence based treatment is conducted to strengthen the child’s oral motor skills, reduce sensory/ food aversions, and increase the child’s food inventory as needed.
How do I know if my child would benefit from feeding and swallowing therapy?
In order to determine if your child would benefit from feeding and swallowing therapy, it is important to have knowledge of the swallowing process. The swallow is comprised of three phases. Deficits in any of these phases can result in a feeding and swallowing disorder.
The first phase is known as the “oral preparatory phase.” Anatomically, the oral phase consists of the tongue, lips, teeth, jaw, and palate. Children experiencing the following symptoms would benefit from oral motor treatment in order to improve oral muscular strength, range of motion, and coordination which are crucial in the feeding and swallowing process.
- Difficulty chewing solid foods
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty keeping solids or liquids contained in the mouth
- “Storing” foods within their cheeks or difficulty clearing their mouth
- Difficulty drinking liquids from bottles, cups or straws
The pharyngeal and esophageal phase are the final two phases of the swallow mechanism. Children with complex medical histories including those with a history of pneumonia, aspiration, dysphagia, respiratory complications, esophageal strictures, chronic acid reflux or GERD may experience swallowing and feeding difficulties and aversions.
Children who experience feeding difficulties may also present with sensory processing disorders that are impacting their ability to eat a variety of foods and participate in meal-times. These children may be referred to by their families as “picky eaters.”
If your child presents with any of the following behaviors during meal-time, they may be a candidate for feeding treatment:
- Coughing , gagging or vomiting before, during and/or after eating
- Sensitivity to certain food textures, smells, flavors
- Refusal to eat specific food groups
- Food inventory of less than 20 foods
What is the goal of feeding and swallowing therapy?
The goal of feeding and swallowing therapy is to help strengthen the child’s ability to participate in safe, happy and healthy meal- times!
If you believe your child would benefit from feeding therapy, call or message us today to set up a feeding evaluation.