Disorders of feeding and swallowing can occur during different stages of the swallow. For difficulties in the oral stage of swallowing, therapy will focus on providing oral-motor exercises to strengthen and coordinate the muscles within the oral cavity, to allow for better preparation of foods while ensuring a safe swallow. For difficulties in the later stages of the swallow, various compensatory strategies may be used to ensure that aspiration (fluids and food entering the lungs) does not occur.
Sensory feeding disorders commonly occur in children with sensory integration dysfunction, including children with autism spectrum disorders. A different approach to feeding therapy is used for these children, focusing on the sensory system rather than motor. SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Feeding Program is an example of a sensory-based feeding therapy that takes the whole child into account when developing a program to better include a variety of foods into their diet.
Typical feeding goals addressed include: Establishing intake of solid foods and liquids; increasing the amount of food and liquids consumed; expanding the variety of child’s diet including liquids; teaching chewing and progressing texture; G-, J-, and NG-tube weaning; bottle weaning; minimizing food refusal; reducing pickiness; reducing length of mealtime duration; teaching and increasing self-feeding, making mealtime more positive.
For more information, request an appointment today at Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists.