ORAL MOTOR AND FEEDING THERAPY
Our speech pathologists and occupational therapists have been specifically trained in a variety of specialty areas that allow for a comprehensive feeding evaluation.
Training includes SOS feeding therapy; training under Catherine Shaker and Debra Beckman; and training in Sensory Integration Disorders
- A speech-language pathologist and/or occupational therapist can complete a feeding evaluation to determine contributing factors to the feeding concern
- This evaluation consists of a comprehensive history, an oral-motor assessment, and a feeding observation
- The evaluator collaborates with medical professionals monitoring the child in order to determine the most appropriate treatment plan
- Further medical assessments and referrals (e.g. videofluoroscopic swallowing study; gastrointestinal assessment; ENT referral) are recommended as are appropriate and necessary
Signs of a potential Oral Motor concern
|"gulpy" swallows||gurgling sound||coughing|
|watery eyes when eating or drinking||congestion during and following feeding||weak or poor suck|
|liquid or food spilling from mouth||fatigue as feeding progresses||color change when eating|
|mouth breathing||food refusal||multiple swallows on one bite of food|
|poor chewing||food remaining in mouth after swallowing||significant drooling|
|taking limited quantities of food or drink||labored breathing when eating||gagging when eating|
What is a "Picky Eater"
- Selective regarding variety of foods--May eat 30+ foods
- May prefer to eat certain foods for a period of time and then refuse them (these foods usually return after 2 weeks
- Usually eats at least one food from most food texture groups
- May have a history of reflux or sensory issue
What is a "Problem Feeder?"
- Usually accepts few foods (less than 20)
- Strong reactions are common to foods (e.g. crying, gagging, vomiting, tantrums)
- May not be able to touch, smell, or have new foods in their "space"
- May have "food jags" where they refuse foods that had previously been eaten (these foods often do not return to the child's diet)
- May reject entire food groups or categories of texture
- Often has an underlying medical conditions (e.g. GERD) or oral motor concerns
- Sensory processing disorders and/or food aversion may also be present
- Concerns are often noted in infancy
- An occupational therapist who is trained in sensory processing can look at "why" children refuse some foods over others
- Sensory processing is how our brains interpret, organize, and use sensory information such as how something looks, feels, smells and tastes
- Symptoms of difficulty with sensory processing may include: sensitivity to temperature, smell and/or texture foods; variable attention during meals; excessively messy eater; avoids touching foods; lack of or heightened awareness of flavor
- Feeding therapy is provided by our specifically trained speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists. Strategies and programs include SOS feeding therapy, food chaining, oral motor therapy, sensory integration, and behavior management.
- Parents are invited to be active participants in feeding therapy sessions in order to learn strategies for carryover at home. This involvement is essential for immediate progress as well as lifelong healthy eating habits.