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Understanding Feeding Therapy: A Guide for Families

 

What is Feeding Therapy

Feeding therapy is a specialized treatment designed to assist children and their families in managing challenges related to eating habits and dietary intake. It’s a valuable resource for children who may struggle with various aspects of feeding, whether it’s difficulty in consuming adequate nutrition, managing certain food textures or coping with medical conditions affecting their ability to eat. Let’s explore what feeding therapy entails and how it can benefit children and their families.

Why Feeding Therapy is Needed

Children may require feeding therapy for a variety of reasons, including being born prematurely or having developmental disabilities, neuromuscular diseases, neuro-developmental disorders (e.g., Down syndrome, epilepsy, autism), gastrointestinal difficulties, sensory processing issues or complex medical diagnoses. These conditions can impact a child’s ability to eat, leading to challenges in nutrition intake and mealtime behaviors.

Feeding therapy typically begins with a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a feeding therapist. This evaluation involves observing the child’s eating habits, gathering medical and developmental history and interviewing parents or caregivers to understand concerns related to feeding. Additionally, an objective evaluation of swallowing may be performed to assess the child’s ability to swallow safely. Following the evaluation, the feeding therapist will use various techniques tailored to the individual needs of each child and family to treat the issue(s).

Outcomes of Feeding Therapy

The aim of feeding therapy is to achieve positive changes in eating behaviors and mealtime dynamics. Expected outcomes may include increased acceptance of a variety of foods, reduction in disruptive mealtime behaviors, mastery of feeding and swallowing skills, establishment of a positive relationship with food and reinforcement of a nurturing feeding environment within the family.

If you suspect that your child may benefit from feeding therapy due to delayed feeding skills or dietary differences, consider reaching out to the Boys Town Speech-Language Team. They offer initial feeding evaluations to identify feeding disorders and develop personalized care plans for children in need.
To begin the process, please contact us at 531-355-5087.

 
Speech and Language;Nutrition;Child Development Speech Therapy