If you are wondering if a child might benefit from feeding therapy, read through this list and see how many ‘red flags’ the child has. The more questions you answer ‘yes’ to, the more likely the child is to benefit from feeding therapy.
Does the child:
have ongoing poor weight gain (dropping percentiles on the growth curve) or weight loss?
have ongoing choking, gagging, or coughing during meals?
have ongoing problems with vomiting?
avoid all foods in a specific texture (wet, squishy, crunchy, etc.) or nutrition (meat, vegetables, starches, fruits, etc.) group?
have less than 20 foods that they are able to consistently eat? Especially if foods are being dropped over time with no new foods replacing those that were lost.
Has the child had:
more than one incident of nasal reflux (vomiting or spitting up out their nose)?
a traumatic choking incident, where the child choked on something and then subsequently stopped eating certain foods?
a history of eating and breathing coordination problems, with ongoing respiratory issues?
Was the child unable to:
transition to baby food purees by 10 months of age?
accept any table food solids by 12 months of age?
transition from the breast/bottle to a cup by 16 months of age?
wean off of baby foods by 16 months of age?
Have the child’s parent/caregiver:
reported their child as being “picky” at 2 or more well child checks?
reported that their infant cries and/or arches at most meals?
felt like mealtimes are a battle, and that they are always fighting about food with their child?
reported that their child is difficult for everyone to feed?
had a history of an eating disorder, in addition to having a child who is not meeting weight gain goals? (Please note – parents are not viewed as causing the feeding problem in their child, however, they may be more stressed around meals and need extra supports.
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the child is likely a good candidate for feeding therapy. The earlier you can begin working with a child who is struggling to eat, the faster you will see changes. It is much easier to change a 2 year old’s relationship to food than a 12 year old’s; however, feeding therapy can help make mealtimes more enjoyable for people of all ages! Adults can even benefit from these strategies.