If you are reading this blog, you have more than likely have an understanding of your child’s eating difficulties and are looking for solutions to make this situation better for your child and family. Here are some steps to help guide you through this process:
If you haven’t already consulted a professional on your child’s eating difficulties, this is the first step. Wildflowers Children’s Therapy offers a team approach to evaluating eating difficulties.
Access to eating therapy and programs are limited in the Regina/Saskatchewan area. Some families even choose to travel to the USA for feeding therapy. There are different approaches to eating therapy that you should be aware of so that you can choose one that best suits your child. There are two main feeding approaches: positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Wildflowers offers Eating Therapy Based on the American (internationally recognized) SOS approach to feeding. Dr. Kay Toomey has been developing this program and training clinicians for over 30 years. Dr. Toomey is actively involved in the SOS Feeding Solutions at STAR Institute (Colorado, USA). This approach is based on positive reinforcement which aims to create new skills, and lasting behavior changes whereby children have fun and actively participate in learning about food.
SOS Approach & Wildflowers Children’s Therapy
Group and Individual therapy sessions involve using a systematic desensitization routine to assist children to move up the steps of the hierarchy of eating (32+ steps). The child is exposed to approximately 8-12 different foods at each therapy session. The foods are chosen in order to specifically increase the range of tastes, textures, sizes, shapes, colors and temperatures of food accepted by the child into the mouth. The foods are presented in a specific order that prevents sensory overload and allows the child to transition more easily and accept a food change. POSITIVE reinforcement and playful exploration of food help to create a positive connection to food and eating for the child. A child is never forced to eat food and is in control of his/her interaction with the food.
Eight-ten group or individual feeding therapy sessions are recommended. Given the age and complexity of feeding issues, a child may require more than one group of sessions.
So let us help you navigate the sometimes overwhelming aspects of overcoming sensory eating difficulties. If you have questions, please direct them to myself, the lead clinician on the feeding team.
Written by Arlene Jachak, Occupational Therapist with Wildflowers