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Therapy Approaches To Feeding Difficulties!

child self feeding

Have you identified that your child has difficulties which are impacting on their feeding skills? If so we are trained to help you and your child! This blog explains the training we have completed and how we can assist you.

The SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding is a program that offers an effective way to address problematic feeding behaviours in a variety of settings and populations. The program was developed over the course of 20 years through the clinical work of Dr. Kay Toomey (Paediatric Psychologist), in conjunction with colleagues from several different disciplines including: Paediatricians, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Registered Dietitians.

Sarah Starr is a private Speech Pathologist who lives in Sydney, Australia. Sarah has extensive experience in the area of Paediatric feeding disorders, particularly in children with disabilities. Sarah graduated with a bachelor of Speech Pathology in 1986 and since has been working and researching significantly into the area of feeding. Sarah has works closely with colleagues from different disciplines, as mentioned above, to achieve the best feeding and communication outcomes for children and their families. Sarah provides training to allied health professionals through the Paediatric Feeding Program Association which was established in 1994.

Parents and caregivers of children who will not eat are faced with a difficult and often puzzling challenge. Because the interplay between weight gain and a child’s experience of food can be complicated, there is rarely an easy solution when a feeding problem arises.

playing with food

The SOS and Sarah Starr Approach use a transdisciplinary team approach which assess the “whole child”: organ systems; muscles; development; sensory processing; oral-motor skills; learning, behaviour and cognition; nutrition and the environment.

The Approaches focus on increasing a child’s comfort level by exploring and learning about the different properties of food. The programs follows a hierarchy which allows a child to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way, beginning with the ability to tolerate the food in the room and in front of him/her; then moving on to touching, kissing, and eventually tasting and eating foods. If the cause of the feeding difficulties are identified as being a result of delayed oral motor skills (lip seal, tongue strength or rate and range of movement, use of utensils/hands for feeding, oral control of food and co-ordinating the swallow) the therapy will target development of these skills. The program also includes caregiver education to help parents and caregivers understand the ways in which children learn to eat and to not eat, and recommend strategies to promote more positive mealtimes for the child and family.

Our team consists of an Occupational Therapist and Speech Pathologist who will conduct a joint assessment of a child's feeding skills and then determine which of these therapist's skill set will be the best fit for your child's needs.



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