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What is Feeding Therapy?

Updated: Jun 22

Feeding therapy is a safe space that is client-focused to help develop the skills necessary to have holistic mealtime experiences. Feeding therapy is for any client or child that is demonstrating or expressing difficulties with manipulation of their foods, difficulty with swallowing, difficulty with tolerating different textures or temperatures, and/or difficulty sitting at the table for a meal. The GOAL of feeding therapy is to focus on learning the skills needed to be successful at home, not on the volume of food the child intakes. The therapists will ensure they provide as much support as the child needs, and NOT do anything for the child such as forcing them to eat foods (Satter, 2000). A healthy approach to mealtime for any client/child is very important as it happens multiple times throughout the day. Mealtimes open up opportunities for oral motor development, sensory exploration, social interaction, family connection, and communication (Basco, n.d.; Gronski & Doherty, 2020). In addition, eating is a vital part of a child’s life in order to receive adequate nutrition and calorie intake, as it is necessary for appropriate growth and development (Gettier, 2022).


Important Definitions:

  • Feeding is the process of involving any aspect of eating or drinking, including gathering and preparing the food and liquid for intake, sucking or chewing, and swallowing” (ASHA, n.d.)

  • Swallowing is a complex process during which saliva, liquids, and foods are transported from the mouth into the stomach while keeping the airway protected” (ASHA, n.d.)


References

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.). Pediatric feeding and swallowing

(Practice Portal). Retrieved May, 3rd, 2023, from www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-

topics/pediatric-dysphagia/.

Basco, K. K. (n.d.). Pediatric feeding disorders - summit professional education. Summit

Education. https://summit-education.com/course/CFEEKB.1/pediatric-feeding-

disorders#VIDEO/ONDEMAND.CFEEKB.1

Gettier, M. (2022, June 1). Children with problematic feeding, selective restrictive eating: A

pilot program. Aota.org. https://www.aota.org/publications/ot-practice/ot-practice-

issues/2022/problematic-feeding-selective-restrictive-eating

Gronski, M., & Doherty, M. (2020). Interventions within the scope of occupational therapy

practice to improve activities of daily living, rest, and sleep for children ages 0–5 years

and their families: A systematic review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy,

74(2), 1–31. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.039545

Satter, E. (2000). Child of mine: Feeding with love and good sense. Bull Publishing Company.

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