“Would you like an adventure now, or would like to have your tea first?”
Who is feeding therapy for? There are many terms used to describe a child with feeding challenges: fussy eater, selective eater, faddy eater, picky eater or restrictive eater to name a few. Some children need feeding therapy to support ongoing development with their eating skills.
Help I Need Feeding Therapy!
You are not alone. It is estimated that 40% of children have a time when they are described as a picky eater. Of these children approximately 5% will develop a feeding disorder. A feeding disorder is characterised by an unwillingness to eat familiar foods or to try new foods, as well as strong food preferences. These children consequently eat inadequate variety of food and they will reject a substantial number of foods, both familiar and unfamiliar.
A child with significant feeding difficulties may be given the diagnosis of Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). ARFID was introduced as a new diagnostic category in the DSM-V, published in 2013. Although it seems that this diagnosis continues to be rarely used by medical professionals to describe feeding challenges.
Occupational Therapists are concerned with how people engage in daily activities, examining the relationships between the person, the task and the environment. Feeding is an essential daily task that we participate in on several occasions every day which at times can be very complicated. Therefore it is a priority for us here at Sprouts and we have extensive expertise to support children who have feeding disorders.
A Sprouts Occupational Therapy feeding assessment may be beneficial if you have concerns regarding your child’s eating. Some areas that Sprouts Child Occupational Therapists can help with are:
- To conceptualise why your child has feeding difficulties
- How sensory processing is impacting on your child’s eating
- How to increase the range and repertoire of foods that your child will accept
- How to change the texture of foods your child will eat or halted feeding development
- To support your family reduce stress at mealtimes and battles with children over food
- To recommend changes to cutlery, cups and seating
- Children who eat non food items (PICA)
I want to know more…
Miriam has advanced training in the SOS Feeding Approach. She has worked with a large number of children with restrictive eating. Miriam is affliated with and works alongside the New Zealand Eating Disorders Clinic. If you would like more information regarding the Sprouts Feeding Assessment and Treatment, please contact us.
If you live outside Auckland and have concerns regarding your child’s eating, we are able to offer distance feeding therapy assessments via Skype. Therefore your child still has access to specialist input. Please contact Miriam for more information.