The Right Feeding Therapy for Children With Feeding Disorder

Feeding disorder for children has been a common problem for several years that requires special attention and treatment. In this article, the factors affecting children’s eating pattern will be thoroughly discuss.

Feeding therapy addresses the feeding problems of a child to prevent further negative nutritional and growth effects. First thing to do is, the existing medical problems can affect feeding behaviour such as Hirsch sprung disease, gastric acid reflux and so on and so forth. It is imperative that other medical team in the treatment process ensure safe methods of treatments. Knowing these elements will give you as as parent with more options to take.

Keep in mind that feeding therapy is not a one-man job. A team of physicians, occupational therapist, nutritionist, and behavioural analyst comprises what we call “medical team.” As you go deeper with helping your child, familiarize these people for the effective way of dealing with the problem at hand. Allow the child to understand the reason behind of the frequent visits to the doctors. This action will elicit trust and comfort for the child’s state of mind.

There are various interventions involved in instituting a feeding program to your child. One of this is behavioural feeding program. In this strategy, the clinician’s idea that nutrition is the primary issue. During mealtime, offer foods proven successful to fulfill the child’s hunger and increases the appetite. Introduce new foods little by little during snacks in a setting that has minimal disturbance. Gradually increase the amount and timing of new food you feed until the child gets used to the activities. Take into consideration the utensils, the height of the chair and the smell of the food served. Take note the child’s reaction during mealtime of the introduced intervention.

The other method includes the instructional hierarchy, which has three parts or stages of development: The acquisition period, the fluency, and the generalization. During the acquisition period, the child is adjusting to the new behaviour towards food. While in the fluency, the child practices the acquired behaviour towards the food. Finally, in the generalization phase, the child can apply the learned behaviour with various new food introduced.

Other interventions of feeding therapy are precursor-based, which include changes made to the dimensions of the food and changes made to how the food, and consequence-based, where you reinforce the mealtime behavior, and extinguish negative mealtime behaviours. Positive reinforcement includes access to a preferred toy paired with verbal praise each time the child completes the required task (i.e., takes a bite). Gradually increase the difficulty of the task implemented. If the child does not accept in a set time (i.e. five seconds), no toy provided and the feeder should not pay any attention. Initially, ignoring behaviours may result in an increase in the negative behaviours but with persistence, will reduce significantly in time.

Supervising children with feeding disorders is not an easy task. A team approach is important to deal with all aspects of the child’s care, including medical status, nutrition, sensory issues, and positioning, as well as feeding and swallowing. Patience and creativity on the part of the intervention team are essential to ensure the child’s success and well-being.