Navigating Picky Eaters with S.O.S.
Why won’t my child eat?
We hear that question all the time! And there’s no easy answer. According to the SOS (Sequential-Oral-Sensory) Approach to Feeding, which was developed by Dr. Kay Toomey and is used worldwide to treat feeding issues in infants, children, and adolescents, eating is the most complex thing we do. Eating involves all our organs, muscles, and senses; it also relies heavily on our development, prior experiences with food, nutritional status, and environment. With so many factors to consider, it’s no wonder eating and mealtimes can be difficult!
My child doesn’t eat vegetables. Does he need feeding therapy?
There are a variety of red flags that help determine whether a child is a “picky eater” or a “problem feeder.” Some of the factors to examine are:
· The number of foods a child has in their repertoire, including the texture and nutritional groups
· The child’s history with eating and his/her behaviors around new foods
· The impact the feeding difficulties have on the family
· The nutritional status, weight gain, and medical status of the child
· The oral motor and sensory challenges of the child
For a full list of red flags, visit the Toomey & Associates – SOS Approach to Feeding website.
How does feeding therapy work?
The SOS Approach to Feeding uses food hierarchies to work on oral motor skills and sensory desensitization to help children shift slowly into accepting new foods. Children are presented with a variety of preselected foods in a specific order to both challenge and put them at ease. Natural reinforcers (e.g., verbal praise), social modeling, food play, and conversation are used throughout the session to make trying new foods a fun learning experience. Please visit the SOS website for more information.
Why do Speech-Language Pathologists work on feeding?
As experts on oral motor movements, speech-language pathologists are one of the many disciplines that can work on feeding. Other professionals who work on feeding include occupational therapists, nutritionists, psychologists, and many others!
What should I do?
If you have any questions or concerns, check out the Toomey & Associates – SOS Approach to Feeding or contact us!