Feeding Therapy

Support and training for children who have feeding difficulties and food aversions

What Does A Feeding Therapist Do?

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Support?

How Does Always Keep Progressing Help My Child?

What Do I Do If I Think My Child Needs Support?

About 

What is feeding therapy?

Feeding therapy refers to therapy that helps children of all ages to develop and improve the skills necessary to engage in everyday mealtime, otherwise known as “feeding”. Feeding therapy can include treating food orientation, oral motor strengthening, and improve overall eating experience. Caregivers also play an important role in feeding therapy. The more parent involvement there is, the better the outcomes!

Feeding therapists work on teaching and training feeding strategies and general advice for parents to use during mealtimes at home, strategies for addressing negative mealtime behaviors, continuing to encourage new foods at home, and how to keep a food log of foods that the child consumes and behaviors during mealtime.

What is a Speech Therapist?

What Does A Feeding Therapist  Do?

A pediatric feeding therapist is licensed and trained to help assess and treat your child’s feeding skills. Many people don’t know this, but a feeding therapist is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in feeding treatment!

A feeding therapist can help babies, toddlers, children, and/or adolescents with overall success during mealtimes. Feeding therapy is much more than just teaching a child how to eat.

A feeding therapist is trained to know how to determine the source of the child’s feeding difficulties and develop specific treatment programs to target these areas of weakness in order to improve overall nutritional/hydrational intake and most of all — decrease stress and increase enjoyment of mealtime for children and their families!

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Support?

Mealtimes are supposed to be a bonding experience and an exciting time for the child and family. However, if meals are more of a stressful time for you and your family, your child could probably benefit from a feeding evaluation.

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Irritable/fussy with feeding
  • Difficulty chewing foods (holds food in his/her mouth and swallows pieces whole)
  • Difficulty swallowing foods (or certain textures)
  • Refuses to eat, touch, or even pay attention to certain food textures
  • Has difficulty transitioning to different food textures (i.e. bottle feedings to puree, or puree to solids)
  • Avoids, gags on, or demonstrates aversive behaviors to certain food textures or entire food groups (i.e. avoids all vegetables)
  • Takes longer than 30 minutes during mealtime
  • Frequent coughing during meals
  • Gags or chokes during meals
  • Frequently vomits during meals
  • Rarely tries new foods
  • Difficulty coordinating suck/swallow/breath pattern during bottle feedings or breastfeeding
  • You find yourself often expressing to doctors that your child is a “picky eater”
  • Gurgly or breathy voice during/after meals

Can Always Keep Progressing Help My Child?

Always Keep Progressing has speech therapists that specialize in pediatric feeding. If your child has one of the symptoms listed above, only eating 5-10 different foods in his/her food repertoire, gags/screams/runs away from specific foods, has difficulty transitioning to new or different foods — if meals feel stressful overall, we highly recommend visiting us for a feeding evaluation.

We use specific approaches to help decrease food aversions, increase food repertoire, and exercises to strengthen oral motor skills. Always Keep Progressing also provides extensive training to parents to help structure meals, and carryover treatment strategies into the home.

Some conditions that may (but don’t always) lead to feeding/swallowing disorders include:

  • Premature or low birth weight
  • Breathing problems (i.e. asthma)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Autism or sensory processing disorder
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Meningitis
  • Cleft lip, cleft palate
  • Reflux (GERD), and/or other stomach or GI problems
  • Medicines that decreases appetite
    Allergies

What’s next

What Do I Do If I Think My Child Needs Support?

Firstly, we want to assure you that there is no need to worry. We are here to guide you through every step of the way and help you to find the support that your child needs! If you feel that your child is in need of our services, you will follow four major steps: book a free consultation, complete the intake form, schedule the initial evaluation, and schedule treatment sessions.

Each step of this process is very important, and can get complicated when using insurance. We specialize in working with insurance, and are here to walk you through the process and make things as easy and pain-free as possible!

Of course, if you are opting to use private pay, these steps will be simplified.

1. Consultation

You can book a free consultation with one of our speech therapy specialists by clicking the button in the top right corner! A consultation consists of listening to your concerns, getting some information about payments/insurance plans, and walking you through next steps. Most of the time, we can complete the consultation with you right then and there!
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2. Intake Form

Complete our intake form and provide us with a detailed case history. Usually, we are able to complete the intake form with you during our consultation call. This information allows us to secure your child’s spot, create your child’s profile in our system, and helps therapists to prepare for the right evaluation materials for your child.

3. Evaluation

Once we have verified your insurance and received necessary documents, such as a doctor’s referral order (some insurances require authorization for evaluations, and some don’t), you will be all set to start! Our scheduling coordinator and administrative staff will contact you right away to schedule your initial evaluation based on your availability. Following the evaluation, we will formulate a personalized plan of care and call/meet with you to define your child’s goals and type/duration/frequency of treatment.

3. Treatment

Once all documents are in place and your insurance approves services, our scheduling coordinator and administrative staff will call to schedule treatment sessions at times that suit you and begin your child’s journey towards success!

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