Feeding therapy is helpful and strongly recommended if your child is having trouble with breast or bottle feeding, or eating solid foods, or if your baby seems to be a picky eater. These scenarios are most common with children that have special needs and medical conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), down syndrome or sensory processing disorder (SPD), etc.
Pediatrician’s usually suggest feeding therapy early on in these instances. However, parents and families of children with special needs could also be unaware of the benefits of feeding therapy or wonder if and how feeding therapy might support their toddler or children. Here are listed 5 benefits of child feeding therapy.
#1: Health & Growth
Children who have difficulty feeding for a variety of reasons also have difficulty eating enough to maintain a healthy weight for their height and age. If other medical causes for your child’s weight increase have been ruled out, feeding therapy could be a good place to start working on increasing food intake, boosting nutrition by eating more foods, and more.
#2: Increase the Number of Accepted Foods
Is your child’s overall food intake less than 20-30? Will they eat nothing but goldfish, chicken nuggets, or some very selective food items? Do you need to carry ziplock bags of acceptable foods to a restaurant with your child simply to make sure they eat something during dinner because you know they won’t eat anything on the children’s menu? Feeding therapy is an extremely successful way to expand a child’s dietary repertoire. As a result, they become more flexible with what is provided at mealtimes over time.
#3: Reduce Your Stress Linked to Meal Preparation
Do you find that preparing meals for your child is a balancing act between ensuring that they get enough food while also exposing them to different things without causing a complete meltdown? Juggling and balancing these objectives can feel like a full-time job! Maybe you’re feeling like a short-order chef, whipping up a variety of dishes for adults and children! Feeding therapy can be a great solution for your child when you have been walking this tightrope for a time with little success.
#4: Establish More Calm and Joyful Mealtimes
Mealtimes can often be stressful when you are trying to feed your child with special needs. Feeding therapy can address it, that mealtimes will become less of a struggle and kind of a calm and joyful part of your family’s routine. If you are skeptical about it, you can consult with a specialist of feeding therapy for children.
#5: Develop Self-regulation
Another fantastic advantage of feeding therapy for children is that it aids in the development of self-control through co-regulation. Little ones learn to self-regulate their emotions through co-regulation, which is achieved through connection and shared calm with their primary caregivers.
Pediatric feeding therapy can address feeding and swallowing disorders, or Dysphagia in children. From overcoming weaknesses or difficulties in feeding and or swallowing to improving tongue movement, feeding therapy can also reduce the risk of pulmonary problems to a minimum, facilitate oral or pharyngeal or respiratory coordination, modify the behavioral and sensory issues, among others.
At Hope AMC, we offer pediatric feeding therapy. We have a specialized team of Paediatric Speech and Language therapists to make sure that everything is done in a safe way to enable your child to get the maximum benefit from the pediatric feeding therapy. After assessing the condition of the child and other factors like age, cognitive and physical abilities and specific issues, an appropriate Feeding Therapy plan is suggested by our therapists.
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