Eating & Feeding Services

Eating should be a source of joy, satisfaction, connection with others and personal control. When the natural process of eating is interrupted, we need to take care to encourage the nurturing nature of eating/feeding while simultaneously working to develop necessary skills.

ASSESSMENT

When a child has difficulty eating and/or drinking, a speech-language pathologist can evaluate why the child is struggling and create a plan to address the problem. Assessment includes the analysis of the child’s body structures and the ways these structures are working together in the context of food and/or drink. It includes looking at the coordination of swallowing and airway protection, saliva management, food textures and sensitivity, moving of food/liquid, chewing, swallowing, voluntary and involuntary responses to food and gut comfort.

TREATMENT

Intervention needs to:

  • support the child to get enough food & water to grow 
  • protect against choking and aspiration 
  • develop the necessary coordination of the eating (face, jaw, lips, tongue, jaw, palate, throat and checks) and breathing (lungs, diaphragm) mechanisms
  • address the child’s voluntary and involuntary responses that interfere with eating and swallowing
  • encourage joy, satisfaction and personal control

Kim uses an approach that considers the medical - motor - behaviors of feeding/eating that is anchored in fun and joy. Collaboration with doctors, nutritionists, movement specialists (OT/PT) and caregivers is important.

This approach honors the importance of trust and connection while incorporating behavioral (ABA) principles. People eat in the context of family and home. For this reason, eating interventions in homes with family members are preferred.