Feeding Therapy Woes — The Bump
Special Needs

Feeding Therapy Woes

I think I have made a mistake in picking a feeding therapist. The one we are seeing is well regarded, but she is more focused on the mechanics of eating. I want DD to willingly put food in her mouth. At this point I don't care if she has proper lip closure or not. The therapist gave us a feeding technique, which has turned DD off from spoon feeding all together - like a complete backslide. We are slowly building back up to where she was before that appointment. 

I am now thinking we are going to need an intensive feeding clinic where we have weeks of therapy condensed to get her to eat beyond purees. She has an interest in eating - she feeds her dolls and even munches on the Melissa & Doug wooden food. She licks food, we just have this hump to get over of teaching her eat solid food and psychologically getting over her fear of gagging and vomiting. 

Has anyone on here done an intensive feeding clinic, if so, which one and was it successful? 

Re: Feeding Therapy Woes

  • Hi, my son has had a feeding therapy for 6 months now combined into his OT visit.  Our OT is one of only 112 people in this state trained in this particular therapy and she is the only one in quite a mile radius so we are happy to be working with her.  I am sorry that I can't remember what its called. 

    So background on DS.  He is 3.5yo and also has a speech delay, sensory, vision problems and coordination issues.  As far as feeding goes he would not latch when I tried to breastfeed him as an infant.  He had a problem not leaking formula when drinking out of a bottle so i could only get the NUK nipples to work and also would not EVER hold his own bottle (sensory) but could crawl, pick stuff up, live his baby life as normal otherwise.

    He totally ate purees just fine.  When I moved to the slightly chunkier baby foods he FREAKED out.  He would not open his mouth and so I eventually moved on to dry texture foods like cracker, cereals-- no problems.  I thought at the time it was odd but decided as a first time mom to just feed him what he would eat and figured he would be moving on to kid foods eventually (I was wrong there) and he would still eat the purees so I kept feeding them to him. 

    Well fast forward and I can only get him to eat these things: carbs (crackers, cereal etc), chicken, yogurt, cheese, applesauce.  Until very recently these things HAD to be at a certain temp and HAD to be a certain brand.  I told the OT that as a 3 year old he was still eating carrot and sweet potato baby food puree because that was the only way he would eat any vegetable or fruit.  i was worried about him becoming deficient in certain vitamins and as embarassing as it was to buy at his age-- I needed to do it.  The OT immediately had me make fill in a chart to see what he eats and be as specific as possible--brand/temp of the food/any other odd requests of the food etc.

    So currently we go into the feeding room after 45 minutes of OT activities.  There are always 6 foods each visit.  She started with all preferred foods but one on the first appointment.  She serves all foods on white or clear (to present the food the same way everytime and not distract ).  The preferred foods are no issue.  Food number one comes out--she puts it in front of her, then in front of me and then in front of him. He is NEVER forced to eat the food.  He watches us eat it and we show him how to cut it, squish it etc.  to take the fear out of seeing the food so close to him.  This same process is used for all 6 foods.

    The first time the goal is just to get him to touch it but its ok if he doesnt and no pressure from us.  If he touches it, the next step is to lick it or "blow" it into the bowl by putting it into his mouth and spitting it or put teeth marks into it.  The food may be in front of him 5-6 times before he touches or puts teeth marks into it, but let me tell you, after 6 months of this slow, predicatable pattern, and no pressure environment my son drank a juice box, ate a carrot, ate grapes and a hotdog this week!  Sounds silly to 99.99% of the population on this planet but my kid is legitimately uneasy around food that is not list I mentioned. 

    So 6 foods each time.  When time is up, we put all uneaten food into a large bowl and sing the cleanup song.  He is never made to feel bad if he declines all the food--which some weeks happens--even with preferred food.

    Ok, after that novel, it sounds like you need a therapy closer to what my son is doing,  Sounds like you are more concerned with the actual eating and not how she is eating.  Let me know if you have any questions from all my rambling!



     
  • We struggled with the same thing in the beginning - balancing technique with desire. It's been a slow process, but DD finally started showing interest in food this summer (at 2.5 yo). I can't say what changed exactly... I stopped pushing so much, we got better at listening to her ques, she started immitating more, she grew up, a combination of all of these. I did notice that DD did better if she had control over what she ate. So, I let spoon feeding go to the side, and we've focused on finger foods. Also, having a DD, it became apparent to me that I needed to show her that she is in control of what does or does not go into her body. So, now, I won't even give her anything if she shows resistance. It's her body, she decides what goes into it.

    After a half year of finger foods her mechanics still aren't where they should be. But, they have improved. And since she has more interest, she has more opportunities to practice eating (which means her skills will continue to improve).

    DD just had her trach out. Her new found ability to smell, and truly taste, food has also helped her. We figure we'll give it a year. Then, if need be, we'll place her in an intensive feeding program. So, I'll be interested in hearing what others have to say about them.
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