Why do we offer feeding therapy?
For most children, eating is a fun and routine part of each day. However, recent studies show that one out of four children typically experiences some type of feeding problem. Feeding issues can prevent children from eating enough to grow and develop. Skills on the Hill is proud to offer a comprehensive feeding program designed to meet the specific needs of the child. Our therapists will work closely with the family and caregivers to ensure the child receives the best care.
Feeding therapy is appropriate for children who:
- Are at risk for malnutrition or under nutrition
- Require nutritional supplements
- Have supplemental tube feedings
- Can eat by mouth but have weaning difficulties because of tube feedings
- Have swallowing difficulties or oral motor problems
- Have food aversions or display inappropriate behaviors that interfere with eating
- Have difficulty transitioning to age appropriate food textures
- Are challenged by eating/feeding utensils
Using the SOS approach
At Skills on the Hill, therapists utilize the SOS Approach to Feeding to address feeding difficulties. The SOS Approach is a hierarchical program that allows children to develop their food repertoire by engaging with foods in a non-threatening play format. Through sensory play, the child(ren) will learn about the properties of food (how they look, smell, feel) and increase their comfort level by exploring foods in a manner that gives them a sense of control. They will be exposed to a sequence of eight foods during snack time that will change approximately every four days. The foods will be selected and sequenced based on color and shape. Specific language will be used (“I can” statements, positive comments to encourage curiosity and exploration) and the children will explore the foods with their senses.
Following an evaluation, if feeding therapy is recommended, the occupational therapist will design a program to provide the parent and child with strategies to:
- Create and develop positive eating habits and experiences
- Eliminate or decrease inappropriate behaviors that affect eating / feeding
- Improve oral motor function and skills
- Promote eating properly and safely
- Improve the amount and types of food the child eats
- Reduce the need to use tube feeding and/or related supplements
- Build over-all nutrition and wellness
Families must demonstrate a strong commitment to attending and fully participating in our feeding program and to following through with suggestions for home and follow-up.