Feeding Therapy in Miami
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?
What is Feeding and Swallowing Therapy?
Feeding and swallowing therapy is a type of therapy that helps individuals with difficulties related to feeding and swallowing. These difficulties can occur in people of all ages, but are more common in children who have developmental delays, neurological conditions, or other medical conditions that affect their ability to eat and drink safely and comfortably.
Pediatric 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 skills and strengthening, to improve overall eating experience and treat feeding disorders. Caregivers also play an important role in feeding therapy. The more parent involvement there is, the better the outcomes!
Pediatric 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. Parents can help their child progress in feeding and swallowing therapy by following the therapist’s recommendations and practicing the techniques at home. This may involve making changes to the child’s diet, providing the child with opportunities to practice their feeding skills, keep a food log of foods that the child consumes and behaviors during feeding time, and helping the child become more independent in feeding themselves.
It is important for parents to communicate with their child’s therapist and discuss any concerns or questions they have about the therapy. Working closely with the therapist can help ensure that the child receives the best possible care and makes progress in their feeding and swallowing skills.
The difference between pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders
Feeding therapy focuses on helping children improve their ability to chew, manage food and liquids in their mouth, and swallow safely. This may involve exercises to strengthen the muscles used for swallowing, sensory strategies to help the child better tolerate different textures and temperatures of food, and modifications to the child’s diet to make it easier for them to eat and drink.
Swallowing therapy, on the other hand, specifically focuses on helping children improve their ability to swallow safely and effectively. This may involve exercises to strengthen the muscles used for swallowing, as well as techniques to help the child coordinate the muscles needed for swallowing and to reduce the risk of choking or aspirating food or liquids into the airways.
Both feeding and swallowing therapy can be important for children who have difficulties with eating and drinking, and a therapist may use a combination of both approaches to help the child make progress.
How do I know if my child needs a feeding therapist?
Mealtimes should 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 or eats a limited variety of foods
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. Does not enjoy eating.
Has difficulty transitioning to different food textures at meal time (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
Working closely with your child’s healthcare provider and therapist can help ensure that your child receives the best possible care and makes progress in their feeding and swallowing skills.
Feeding Therapy Articles
Picky Eaters Picky eating is a term used to reflect on feeding issues most commonly encountered during childhood. It can be quite difficult to pinpoint a clear definition of a picky eater, as they vary greatly. For some, it is when a child consumes a very...