Feeding Therapy

Barrett has a multi-disciplinary pediatric feeding team specializing in feeding, swallowing and problem eating difficulties. The team is comprised of Occupational Therapists (OT) trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding, Occupational Therapy Assistants, and a Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in swallowing.

The Initial Feeding Assessment

The feeding assessment is conducted by the feeding team and includes the following:

  • A parent interview to get a sense of the child’s strengths and challenges in
    terms of feeding and swallowing.
  • An oral motor evaluation.
  • Assessment through Barrett’s “family dining experience” and how the child reacts/interacts with new and familiar foods, including how the child chews, swallows and manages different textures.
  • After the evaluation, recommendations for treatment, strategies, further testing, or referrals will be made.

Common Questions About the Feeding Assessment Process

What Should I Bring?
Please bring two food choices in each of the following categories:
•    Your child’s preferred food items
•    Food they have never had before
•    Food they have eaten but is not integrated into their diet
Please include your child’s preferred drink and favorite cups, plates, and utensils

I Have Tests and Reports From My Doctor, Should I Bring Them?
Yes, please fax (508-319-3200) or bring previous feeding evaluations, notes, Barium Swallow Studies (BS), and Modified Barium Swallow Studies (MBS).  If you are able to fax them beforehand that would give our team a chance to review them before we meet with you and your child and prepare any necessary follow up questions.

What Things Should I Consider When Picking Foods to
Bring for the Assessment?

Please consider what textures your child eats, avoids, and those you may want them to start eating. We would like to see how your child reacts to all different textures (i.e. hard, puree, soft foods).  The best types of foods to bring are the ones eaten regularly in your home.

Do I Need Anything from My Child’s Pediatrician’s Office for the Assessment? Why?
Yes, please fax (508-319-3200), mail (107 Otis Street, Northborough, MA 01532) or bring in a prescription from your child’s pediatrician stating a feeding assessment and treatment is indicated.  This will help us in the future if we need to consult your pediatrician or recommend further testing or referrals.

My Child Currently Comes to Barrett for Occupational Therapy.
Can They Come for Feeding as Well?

We encourage you to consult your child’s primary therapist if you are interested in a feeding evaluation.  Your child’s therapist will consult the feeding team and, together, they will determine the right timing for a feeding assessment. Your child should have a minimum attention span of 15 minutes before beginning feeding therapy.

What is the SOS Approach to Feeding?
The SOS Approach to Feeding is a trans-disciplinary program for assessing and treating children with feeding and weight/growth difficulties.  It has been developed over the course of 20 years through the clinical work of Dr. Kay Toomey, in conjunction with colleagues from several different disciplines including Pediatricians, Occupational Therapists, Registered Dietitians, and Speech Pathologists/ Therapists.

This program integrates motor, oral, behavioral/learning, medical, sensory, and nutritional factors and approaches in order to evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems.  It is based on, and philosophically grounded in, the “normal” developmental steps, stages and skills of feeding found in typically developing children.

The treatment component of the program utilizes these typical developmental steps towards feeding to create a systematic desensitization hierarchy of skills/behaviors necessary for children to progress with eating various textures and with growing at an appropriate rate for them. Skills across all developmental areas are also assessed with regards to feeding, as well as an examination of learning capabilities with regards to using the SOS program.  For more information on the SOS Approach, please click here.

Recent Article of Interest:
Step Away From the Sippy Cup!

Recent Video:
A once problem eater becomes a budding chef! Get your pizza ingredients ready! (YouTube)

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