Feeding therapy, also known as swallowing therapy, is a specialized form of therapy that focuses on addressing feeding and swallowing difficulties in children. Feeding therapists work with children who have challenges related to eating, drinking, and swallowing.
Improving Feeding Skills
Our therapists assess and address oral motor skills, the coordination and movement of the mouth, lips, tongue, and jaw. They work with children who have difficulties with sucking, chewing, and swallowing, helping them develop the strength, coordination, and range of motion needed for successful feeding.
Promoting adequate nutrition and hydration
Our therapists aim to ensure that children receive proper nutrition and hydration. We work with children who have limited diets, sensory aversions, oral aversions, or other challenges that impact their ability to consume a balanced diet. Through gradual exposure, desensitization techniques, and introduction of new foods and textures, therapists help expand a child’s food repertoire to ensure they receive adequate nutrition.
Oral sensory processing
Our therapists work with children that may have sensory issues making it difficult to tolerate different textures, temperatures, tastes, or smells of food. Our feeding therapists help reduce aversions, and gradually increase tolerance for a variety of food textures and sensory experiences. They use desensitization techniques, positive reinforcement, and play-based interventions to gradually increase a child’s comfort and engagement during feeding.
Feeding therapy is beneficial for children with swallowing difficulties, known as dysphagia. Therapists assess swallowing function, identify specific challenges, and provide techniques and strategies to improve swallowing safety and efficiency. They may recommend modified textures, postural adjustments, and swallowing exercises to help children swallow safely and comfortably.
Feeding therapy also supports the development of self-feeding skills in children. Interact Peds work on improving hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, utensil use, and self-feeding techniques. They may introduce adaptive equipment, such as specialized utensils or cups, to facilitate independent feeding. They also collaborate with families to create positive mealtime routines and dynamics.