Since starting work at the Long Island Centers for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy, my family and friends have constantly been asking me one question: What exactly is “feeding therapy”? Feeding therapy is designed to teach children how to accept a variety of food tastes and textures. There are a number of available programs in the field that are focused on this one goal. As speech language pathologists our job is insure the our clients are eating safely and are comfortable with what they are eating. This often involves a number of different steps. A child who comes for feeding therapy will not be asked to eat a food they dislike on the first day! At our offices we follow the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach, developed by Dr. Kay Toomey, Ph.D. There is a hierarchy (created by Dr. Toomey) set in place to get the client oriented with the food through different senses and body parts. The hierarchy increases a child’s awareness and exposure to of a variety of food properties, such as texture, color, small, shape, and taste. To read more about Dr. Toomey’s program visit her website: http://www.sosapproach-conferences.com/
Feeding therapy can benefit children who are considered “extremely picky” eaters, who limit themselves to a small number of foods or only eat certain brands of foods, who have poor weight gain or medical issues related to to picky eating, who avoid foods of a specific texture or texture combinations, and who have difficulty controlling food within their mouth, leading to choking, gagging, or coughing while eating. These are just a few of the reasons someone might want to start feeding therapy with their child!