What is Feeding Therapy?

The goal of pediatric feeding therapy is to help children develop normal, effective feeding patterns and behaviors. Feeding therapy is more than just "teaching a child to eat." Our specialized therapists work closely with both the child and family to determine the source of feeding difficulties and develop specific interventions to make the entire process of eating easier and more enjoyable for all!

When Should a Child be Referred for Feeding Therapy?

Mealtimes offer great opportunities for bonding and enjoying new experiences. For some children, mealtimes can be a stressful and challenging time. If any of the behaviors below are affecting your child's ability to safely eat, meet nutritional needs or enjoy the mealtime experience, they may benefit from a feeding evaluation!

  • Difficulty chewing foods, typically swallowing food in whole pieces.
  • Overstuffing when eating.
  • Difficulty swallowing foods or refuses to swallow certain types of food consistencies.
  • Refuses to eat certain food textures.
  • Gags on, avoids or is very sensitive to certain food textures, food temperatures and/or flavors.
  • Struggles to control and coordinate moving food around in the mouth, chewing and preparing to swallow food.
  • Frequently coughs when eating.
  • Gags and chokes when eating.
  • Frequently vomits during or immediately after eating or drinking.
  • Refuses or rarely tries new foods.
  • Pushes food away when it is presented.
  • Negative mealtime behaviors (crying, shuts down, refuses to eat, tantrums, does not engage).
  • Is identified as a "picky eater". Eats limited variety of foods or consistencies (less than 10 foods).

Parent and Caregiver Involvement

Our therapists will work with you to decide which foods to introduce and target during therapy! Parents and caregivers will bring in food weekly for their child's feeding session in collaboration with their therapist. Each week, your child's therapist will work with you to create a list of foods to bring in for the following week. The quantity of these foods can be small, and they can be transported in plastic baggies or tupperware. Our hope is that by having these foods at home, and practicing with them during session, your child will show more success in eating.