easy! You just sit down and
eat, right? WRONG. Believe it or not, eating is more difficult than walking or
talking. It involves 31 muscles and 6
cranial nerves to produce a single swallow.
In addition, it involves all the major organs of your body and all 8
sensory systems working in perfect harmony.
There are hundreds of thousands of families throughout the United States
that have experienced eating and feeding problems in infants and children. Feeding and eating problems are very common and
challenging. Eating can be extremely painful
or impossible for some infants and children.
What if your baby or child struggled to eat, and every bite became a
challenge or fight complicated by coughing, choking, gagging, retching, and
vomiting or food refusal? For families with infants or children who have
feeding challenges, every meal is a difficult battle.
untreated feeding disorders can result in disruption of positive meal-time
routines. This can lead to disruption in parent-child interaction where less
cuddling and positive interactions occur. Eating and feeding difficulties can
disrupt many aspects of a child’s life including growth, cognitive development,
physical strength, behavior and nutrition.
In addition, feeding difficulties produce worried parents and frequent
telephone calls and office visits to your pediatrician. There are an estimated 750,000 children
nationwide with severe feeding struggles.
This number is staggering.
However, there is hope and there is help!
You may ask,
“How do I know if my child has a feeding problem?” Feeding problems present in many different
ways from the need to obtain nutrition via tube feedings to gagging, vomiting,
constipation, food refusal and a limited diet.
Here are some warning signs that may indicate your child needs help:
in taste and texture
chokes, or vomits with meals
entire food groups such as proteins, grains, fruits or vegetables
weight can be either too thin or too heavy
to advance onto age appropriate foods
TherapyWorks, we have a qualified team of therapists, including speech
pathologists, occupational therapists and a dietitian to assist you and
your child in overcoming feeding challenges.
Working with your child’s pediatrician, we will evaluate and develop a
treatment plan specific to your child’s individuals needs. Our goal is to make
feeding fun not only for the child, but also for the entire family. We use a
variety of approaches to assist you and your child in overcoming their feeding
challenges. Several of our therapists are trained in using the
Sensory-Oral-Sequential approach to Feeding (SOS) developed by Kay Toomey and
associates. In addition, we use
principles from Food Chaining by Cheri
Fraker and Laura Walbert and the Get Permission First approach by Marsha Dunn Klein.
Finally, I want to recognize all of the wonderful parents, grandparents,
aunts and uncles and foster parents that I have met over the years who have
been so dedicated at finding a solution to their child’s feeding difficulties. Your persistence, patience and dedication
have contributed to the success we have seen in therapy. Your tears have not been in vain. It is a privilege to share your excitement
over your child eating foods they have never eaten before or, for some of you,
watching your child eat by mouth when he/she has previously only received nutrition by a
Kathy Soland, MS, CCC-SLP
TherapyWorks Speech Therapy Department Clinic
Coming soon: Neuromuscular
Electrical Stimulation in the treatment of pediatric dysphagia.