One of the common concerns which parents express about their child's early development has to do with their eating. This may include their child refusing to eat, not eating enough or being a 'picky eater'. It is important to address these concerns as they directly impact a child's nutrition, growth and development.
This is where the SOS Feeding Approach comes in! SOS stands for Sequential Oral Sensory, an evidence based, multidisciplinary, multi-system approach developed by Dr. Kay Toomey that addresses feeding issues in children. The main objective of this approach is to prepare and support the children in learning the skills required to eat.
Picky eater or Problem feeder?
Some children go through a stage of refusing certain foods, some others have oral motor or sensory issues that contribute to challenges with eating. Some signs that feeding is a problem include:
● Having a limited range of foods, usually less than 20 foods
● Weight and height are lagging on growth chart
● Coughs or gags during mealtimes, or have reflux issues
● Refusing to eat food they once ate regularly
● Refusing entire food groups such as vegetables or textures such as solids
● Responding emotionally when presented with new food, such as by crying or walking away
Does my child need Feeding Therapy?
If you are not sure if your child needs Feeding Therapy, they may benefit from an initial Feeding Screening with S.O.S trained Therapist to evaluate their eating skills or feeding issues. The therapist can provide a personalized play-based treatment program which focuses on food to support your child in developing the skills and tolerance to progress through ‘Steps to Eating’ (listed below). The aim of this program is for your child to learn how to eat a wider variety and range of foods, to meet their nutritional needs and support their growth and wellbeing.
6 Steps to Eating:
Step 1: Child tolerates the food
Step 2: Child interacts with food
Step 3: Child smells the food
Step 4: Child touches the food
Step 5: Child tastes the food
Step 6: Child eats the food
It is important to be mindful that eating a range of foods doesn't happen right away. Children often need to be exposed to and comfortable with food textures, smells and tastes as the initial steps. Also, it is encouraged to have a little fun and mess along the way!
This article was written by guest writer, Siu Wai Wong (Mr. Leon), a bilingual Speech Language Pathologist. He has also translated the article into Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese languages below.
The Expat Speechie
解決孩子進食問題： S.O.S 進食治療法
挑食 VS 進食困難？
解决孩子进食问题： S.O.S 进食治疗法
挑食 VS 进食困难？
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