Does your child struggle with eating a variety of foods, consuming a variety of textures/consistencies, and/or gaining weight/growing? Then the SOS Approach to Feeding may be appropriate for your child. The SOS Approach to Feeding is a trans-disciplinary feeding program for assessment and treatment of children with feeding deficits from birth to 18 years of age. It incorporates a variety of factors including posture, sensory sills, motor skills, behavioral learning, medical, and nutritional components to understand how these cause and maintain feeding/growth problems. My experience in the field thus far has taught me that feeding disorders are rarely the result of an isolated issue. It is typically a combination of factors that cause this difficulty with feeding. It is our job as speech-language pathologists to thoroughly assess your child in order to determine what factors may be causing or maintaining the feeding dysfunction.
Children who eat a limited variety of foods are typically referred to as “Picky Eaters”; however, did you know there are specific distinctions between a picky eater and a problem eater. Typically, a picky eater eats 30 foods or more, stops eating foods due to “burn out” but will regain these foods after 2 weeks, can touch and taste new foods even though they’re nervous, and will add new foods to repertoire in 15-25 steps on the eating hierarchy. In contrast, problem eaters eat less than 20 different foods, foods that are lost due to food jag are NEVER re-acquired, has an emotional reaction such as crying to new foods, refuses an entire category of food textures, almost always eats a different food than the family, and acquires a new food in more than 25 steps on the eating hierarchy.
Here is a list of red flags from the creator of the program, Kay A. Toomey, PhD, to determine if your child is a candidate for referral:
- Ongoing poor weight gain (rate re: percentiles falling) or weight loss.
- Ongoing choking, gagging or coughing during meals
- Ongoing problems with vomiting
- More than one incident of nasal reflux
- History of traumatic choking incident
- History of eating & breathing coordination problems, with on-going respiratory issues
- Inability to transition to baby food purees by 10 months of age
- Inability to accept any table food solids by 12 months of age
- Inability to transition from breast/bottle to a cup by 16 months of age
- Has not weaned off baby foods by 16 months of age.
- Aversion to all foods with a specific texture
- Food range is less than 20 foods
- An infant who cries with arching back at majority of meals
- Meals are battles
- Child is difficulty for everyone to feed
- Child rarely meets weight goals.
If you answered “yes” to many of the above items, then you should contact one of our centers to be evaluated by a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist.
Jessica Eberhardt M.S. CF-SLP, TSSLD