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Feeding Therapy

What Is Feeding Therapy?


Feeding therapy may be led by a speech-language pathologist or an occupational therapist.  We will work with the parent to find the best match for the child based on the parent’s concerns.  Feeding and swallowing difficulties may include safely and efficiently sucking, chewing, moving, and/or swallowing food or liquid.  Other children may have very limited variety in their diets.  These extreme picky eaters become distressed about trying new foods or changing their current foods.
Our therapists have special training, including infant feeding, SOS Approach to Feeding, Get-Permission Approach to Feeding, and Food Chaining.


How Do I Know If My Child Would Benefit From Feeding Therapy?


Your child may benefit from feeding therapy if any of the following red flags are present in your child.

Children 0-6 months of age:

  • Frequent coughing or choking during feeds

  • Arching of the back during or after feeding

  • Feedings taking longer than 30 minutes

  • Frequent and projectile vomiting

  • Poor weight gain

  • Eating and breathing coordination problems

Children 6-12 months of age:

  • Frequently turning head away from food when presented to them

  • Difficulty transitioning to baby food purees by 10 months of age

  • Protruding tongue forward frequently when eating purees after 10 months of age

  • Restricted to 5-10 foods

  • No interest in self-feeding by 12 months of age

  • Coughing or gagging when eating and/or drinking

  • Not able to accept any table food solids by 12 months of age

  • Refuses to open mouth when food is presented to them

Children over 12 months of age:


  • Highly restrictive diet (less than 15 foods)

  • Coughing or choking on liquids

  • Unable to drink from an open cup or straw

  • Coughing or choking on bite-sized foods

  • Losing significant weight secondary to refusal to eat

  • Difficulty transitioning off baby food purees

  • Cries when food is presented to them

  • Aversion or avoidance of all foods in a specific texture or food group

Reference: Fraker C, Walbert L: Evaluation and Treatment of Pediatric Feeding Disorders from NICU to Childhood

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