If you find your child has difficulties eating properly or swallowing food, it’s important to seek professional help. Feeding therapy can help resolve these problems. Before you decide if feeding therapy is right for your child, you should start by understanding the signs that you should look for.
If you believe your child needs help, then search for local practitioners of feeding therapy in Los Angeles so your child can receive the support they need to thrive.
What is Feeding Therapy?
Feeding therapy can be defined as a technique that helps children learn how to eat properly. Therapy sessions generally last 30 minutes to an hour. Doctors recommend therapy sessions at least once weekly if the problem is serious, and once per month in less severe cases. These exercises involve introducing new foods and teaching the child how to eat them.
Depending on the child’s condition, the therapist may ask the parents to take them to a medical facility to participate in exercises. These exercises are designed to help to strengthen the child’s muscles, allowing them to swallow food more easily. They can include changing facial expression, whistling, and blowing bubbles.
After visiting the medical facility, the doctor or feeding therapist will first evaluate the child to determine their condition. This will involve evaluation and monitoring of the child’s eating behavior. As a parent, you may be interviewed before scheduling an appointment.
After the therapist has all the information they need, they will explain to you the condition of your child and how often feeding therapy sessions are needed. You may want to speak with the therapist to set specific goals that you hope to see your child achieve. For example, if there’s a type of food you believe is important for your child to eat that they are currently unable to, you can set a goal to help them eat that food comfortably. The time period for goals like this should be approximately one week to one month, depending on the therapist’s recommendations. By working with your child’s therapist, you can ensure that your child is given the best possible treatment.
Feeding therapy can be useful to address picky eating. Although some cases of picky eating may be addressed simply by slowly and consistently expanding your child’s repertoire of foods, treatment can be ideal when a child’s picky eating goes too far and begins to affect their nutritional intake. Feeding therapy is an excellent choice for infants who have difficulty eating, but they will require evaluation to determine if therapy will be effective. If your older child still prefers eating baby food, feeding therapy can help them begin eating solid foods ideal for their age.
How to Begin Feeding Therapy
The first step is to visit your child‘s pediatrician for an examination. The pediatrician will then determine whether the child needs feeding therapy or not. While you do not need a referral or recommendation from a doctor for feeding therapy, a medical professional’s evaluation is useful in determining whether it is appropriate for your child. If your doctor is unable to help you find a feeding therapist, you can explore the following options.
Hospital or Clinic
Look for a clinic or hospital that offers this service, as there are many that provide pediatric feeding therapy. You can do a simple Google search to find one in your area.
There are many private clinics that specialize in specific treatments, so you’ll likely have no problem finding a clinic that specializes in feeding therapy.
Some schools offer feeding therapy, although this is rare. Check with your child’s school to see if they offer any special help.
If your child is below the age of 5 years and you reside in the US, you can have a therapist come to your home to assist your child.
What to Expect
Similar to other therapy, there are many different approaches to feeding therapy. Two common approaches include:
This is a recently developed approach that is highly recommended, as it addresses the root cause of the problem. This involves a large amount of parental participation.
This approach mainly involves rewarding the child when they eat or chew a new food type.
While it’s a good idea to be aware of other ways to assist your child with eating problems, feeding therapy remains of the best and most scientifically proven methods to address these problems. As with any other medical condition, there are various challenges associated with feeding therapy, such as unavailability of food therapists, as well as monetary and location challenges. The most important thing is to choose a therapist that both you and your child are comfortable with. If feeding therapy is prescribed by your child’s doctor, insurance may help to cover the cost.