If your toddler is having difficulty eating, drinking, or chewing, or is significantly delayed in their oral motor skill development, then feeding therapy may be the right choice for them.
Some signs that your toddler may need feeding therapy include:
#1: Frequent Gagging, Coughing, Or Choking During Meals
If you notice your child is having difficulty gagging, coughing, or choking during meals frequently, your doctor may advise for feeding therapy for your child. This symptom is called dysphagia and this condition happens when food or liquids cannot pass easily from your child’s mouth, into the throat, down the esophagus and into the stomach when swallowing.
#2: Refusal To Eat Certain Textures Or Food Groups
Some children with autism refuse to eat certain textures, tastes, or temperatures of food due to rigid eating rituals. Sensory processing disorders are also more common in them. There is a difference between the two conditions, but remember that picky eating can also indicate other medical problems besides sensory processing disorder (SPD). Other children refuse to eat solid foods, such as solid foods.
If you’re not certain of your child’s diagnosis or have questions about treatment, consult a feeding therapy expert at Hope Abilitation Medical and Rehabilitation Center in Dubai.
#3: Difficulty Transitioning From Pureed To Solid Foods
Feeding therapy for toddlers with difficulty transitioning from pureed to solid foods can help them gain the skills needed to safely and confidently eat solids. A feeding therapist can provide specialized strategies to help the toddler explore and accept solid food textures, reduce picky eating habits, and work on increasing the variety of foods that the toddler will willingly eat. Feeding therapy can also help with mealtime behaviors and address any underlying medical issues that may be contributing to the difficulty transitioning.
#4: Poor Weight Gain Or Other Growth Milestones
Feeding therapy is an important intervention for toddlers with poor weight gain or other growth milestones. Feeding therapy helps toddlers learn how to eat correctly, how to manage their food intake, and how to effectively transition from bottle to self-feeding. This helps to ensure that the toddler is getting adequate nutrition to support healthy growth and development. Feeding therapy may also help the toddler to develop better eating habits, learn to enjoy different textures and flavors of food, increase their appetite, and learn to eat appropriate portion sizes. In addition, feeding therapy can help the toddler develop better oral motor skills, which are necessary for proper speech development.
#5: Limited Variety Of Foods In Their Diet
Feeding therapy for toddlers with difficulty eating a limited variety of foods in their diet is essential in order to ensure that they are receiving adequate nutrition. Feeding therapy can help a toddler learn to accept new foods and develop healthy eating habits. It can also help them learn appropriate portion sizes, learn how to chew and swallow foods, and explore different textures and temperatures. In addition, a therapist can help a toddler understand the connection between food and their emotions, providing them with the skills they need to make nutritious choices throughout their life.
#6: Difficulty Drinking From A Cup
Feeding therapy is an important part of treatment for toddlers with difficulty drinking from a cup. A feeding therapist can help the toddler develop the skills needed to properly drink from a cup. This includes teaching them how to hold the cup, how to drink without spilling, and how to control their intake of liquids. Feeding therapy also helps the toddler become more comfortable with the sensation of drinking from a cup, which can help them progress in their overall feeding development. Additionally, a therapist can help the toddler learn strategies to manage any anxiety they may have associated with drinking from a cup.
#7: Difficulty Maintaining An Upright Posture While Eating
Feeding therapy can help toddlers with difficulty maintaining an upright posture while eating by providing them with the skills and strategies needed to improve their posture. This can include strengthening exercises to develop the muscles that support an upright position, as well as teaching proper positioning and posture at the table. It can also provide strategies to help the child maintain an upright posture during mealtime, including using adaptive equipment such as a supportive seat cushion or tray. Feeding therapy can also provide guidance on how to modify the environment to further support the child’s posture, such as by using a raised chair with a back and side supports. Finally, it can provide education and guidance on how to best support and encourage the child to maintain an upright posture while eating.
If you notice any of these signs in your toddler, it is important to consult with your doctor or a specialist to determine if feeding therapy is the best option. A feeding therapist can provide strategies and techniques to help your child learn to eat safely and confidently.