Do you have a child who struggles to eat? Do they prefer certain textures, tastes or colors over others? If you live in Plano, feeding and swallowing therapy is available and may be beneficial for your child.
The SOS (Sequential – Oral – Sensory) Approach to Feeding (Toomey/Ross) combines the “normal” developmental steps, stages and skills of feeding found in typically developing children. Feeding is a reflection of skill from the combined interaction of organs, muscles, senses, learning, development, nutritional status and environment. If your child is a picky eater or problem feeder, it’s important to discover which of these parts are interfering with their feeding development.
Per the SOS Approach to Feeding (Toomey/Ross), it is recommended that the following factors are considered before solid foods are even introduced to a child. These include:
- Physical readiness – is the child physically ready to eat? Are they provided with postural support? Can they hold their head up? Can they sit up by themselves for 3-5 seconds?
- Physiological maturity to digest and breakdown more complex nutritional sources – how has your child responded to baby foods? Are they able to show tongue lateralization (movement of food by the tongue from one side of the mouth to the other)? Does the child show signs of reflux?
- Mental and motor development – has your child achieved motor milestones up to this point? For example, are they able to reach for a bottle or spoon when hungry? Are they showing hand-to-mouth play (indicating oral exploration of objects)?
- Impact of chronic disease- in looking are your child’s medical history, are there medical factors contributing to your child’s overall development? Was your child pre-term? Do they present with any developmental disabilities?
- Other social, psychological, cultural and economic considerations – does your child have a positive reaction to food? Do they gag when they see food? What is your child’s stress level to food?
If you find that your child struggles across some of these areas, and you live in Plano feeding and swallowing therapy may need to be considered for your child. At Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas, a licensed speech-language pathologist can holistically look at your child and evaluate the feeding, motor and sensory skills required to eat.