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What is the SOS Approach to Feeding?

The SOS Approach to Feeding is a Transdisciplinary Program for assessing and treating children with feeding and weight/growth difficulties. It has been developed over the course of 30 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 comprehensively evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems.

It is based on, and grounded philosophically 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. The assessment component of the program makes sure that all physical reasons for atypical feeding development are examined and appropriately treated medically. In addition, the SOS Approach works to identify any nutritional deficits and to develop recommendations as appropriate to each individual child’s growth parameters and needs. 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.

SOS Approach to Feeding:  Basic Tenets

Tenet 1 = Myths About Eating interfere with understanding and treating feeding problems.

Tenet 2 = Systematic Desensitization is the best first approach to feeding treatment.

Tenet 3 = “Normal Development” of feeding gives us the best blueprint for creating a feeding treatment plan.

Tenet 4 = Food Hierarchies/Choices play an important role in feeding treatment.

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