Navigating the Journey...
Feeding therapy is a specialized intervention designed to address challenges related to eating, swallowing, and mealtime behaviors. Whether you're a parent seeking support for a child with feeding difficulties or an adult embarking on your own journey, understanding what to expect in feeding therapy can help ease concerns and set realistic expectations. In this article, we'll explore the key aspects of feeding therapy and provide insights into the process.
1. Comprehensive Assessment:
- Before diving into therapy, a thorough assessment is conducted to understand the underlying issues. This may involve evaluating oral motor skills, sensory processing, and psychological factors contributing to feeding challenges.
- Expect detailed discussions about your or your child's medical history, eating habits, and any potential triggers or aversions.
2. Setting Realistic Goals:
- Feeding therapy is goal-oriented, aiming to improve specific aspects of eating and
mealtime behavior. Goals are tailored to the individual's needs and may include increasing food variety, improving oral motor skills, or addressing sensory sensitivities.
- Establishing realistic expectations is crucial, as progress may be gradual. Celebrate small victories along the way to maintain motivation.
3. Collaboration with a Multidisciplinary Team:
- Feeding therapists often work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, such as pediatricians, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and dietitians. This multidisciplinary approach ensures a holistic understanding of the feeding challenges.
- Regular communication among team members helps create a comprehensive treatment plan.
4. Sensory Integration Techniques:
- Many feeding difficulties are linked to sensory processing issues. Feeding therapy may involve sensory integration techniques to desensitize individuals to certain textures, tastes, or smells.
- Expect activities that engage different senses, gradually exposing individuals to new food experiences.
5. Gradual Exposure to Foods:
- Introducing new foods can be a gradual process. Therapists may employ techniques like food chaining, where similar foods are introduced in a progression, helping individuals become more comfortable with diverse textures and flavors.
- Patience is key, as each person progresses at their own pace.
6. Parent/Caregiver Involvement:
- For children, involving parents and caregivers is crucial. Feeding therapists often provide strategies and activities that can be implemented at home to reinforce progress.
- Parents can expect to play an active role in creating a positive mealtime environment and supporting their child's journey.
7. Ongoing Evaluation and Adjustment:
- Feeding therapy is a dynamic process that requires ongoing evaluation. Therapists continuously assess progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.
- Regular check-ins provide an opportunity to discuss challenges, successes, and any modifications necessary for continued improvement.
Feeding therapy is a personalized and evolving process that addresses the unique needs of individuals facing feeding challenges. By understanding the comprehensive assessment, setting realistic goals, collaborating with a multidisciplinary team, and embracing sensory integration techniques, individuals and their support systems can navigate the journey with patience and optimism. With a holistic approach and ongoing evaluation, feeding therapy can pave the way for positive changes in eating habits and overall well-being.
Melissa Santander MS CCC-SLP
dba Eat Speak Breathe
Contact Eat Speak Breathe for
a comprehensive feeding evaluation!
We can help with your feeding needs.
Give us a call at 213-699-3693 or
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.