Feeding Difficulties

Feeding difficulties occur when a child has a skill deficit with their oral motor skills and/or their sensory processing.  These can commonly be mistaken for children having “behavior problems” at mealtimes however they are usually trying to escape the eating environment because they don’t have the skills needed to eat, touch or visually tolerate the food that is being presented to them. Feeding difficulties can often present like:

  • Stressful mealtimes
  • Children refusing to try new foods
  • Children disliking the feeling of food on their hands, body and/or face
  • Extended time to eat meals
  • Difficulties chewing or swallowing foods
  • Difficulties eating in different settings
  • No longer eating foods that your child used to like

Why is speech therapy important:

1 out of 5 children are likely to experience feeding difficulties before the age of 7 and less then 50% of these children will be able to achieve the skills they need without direct intervention. Speech therapy will be able to assist the development of oral motor movements and give children the skills they need to tackle challenging foods.

What does an assessment look like?

Feeding assessments are completed in clinic by a Sequential-Oral-Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding trained speech pathologist. A feeding assessment will cover:

  • Discussion with parents around your child’s feeding history and concerns
  • Discussion with parents about your child’s preferred and non-preferred foods, eating habits/schedule and abilities.
  • Observational feeding assessment where your child will be encouraged to eat as they typically would
  • Discussion about assessment findings and therapy options.

What does therapy look like?

Our feeding sessions are held in our specific feeding room and all food items are supplied and prepared by your therapist. These are prepared fresh the morning of the session. Parent involvement within the session is encouraged so you may get a little messy. Feeding therapy is completed in a 12-week block. You may continue for multiple blocks if required.

Therapy will target systematic desensitisation techniques to help children to feel confident and comfortable with a variety of food items as well as the development of effective oral motor skills to give children the skills they need to chew and manipulation a range of food textures.