Would my child benefit from feeding therapy?

All children can go through a stage of picky eating however some children become stuck and as a result have a limited diet. Here are some red flags which can indicate your child needs some assistance to develop their feeding skills. (They do not need to have all of these to indicate an issue).

  • Lack of mouthing toys as an infant.
  • Difficulties accepting or moving between different textures of food.
  • Frequent coughing and/or gagging when eating.
  • Vomiting during or after foods.
  • Rigidity with diet (less than 30 foods in their repertoire, or only eating specific brands).
  • Avoidance of touch around face.
  • Loss of foods and liquids when eating/or coming down their nose.
  • Grimacing/odd facial expression when eating.
  • Pocketing of food in cheeks/or residue in mouth after meal times.
  • Irritability and anxiety around snack/meal times.
  • Excessive drooling and lack of saliva management.
  • History of reflux.
  • Tongue tie or history of tongue tie.
  • Refusal to come to the table to eat.
  • Frequent grazer throughout the day, or wants lots of bottles/ breast feeding when should be on solids for the majority of their intake.
  • Premature birth.

What you can do;

Step 1 – Complete the Feeding Matters Questionnaire. This is a great resource to identify in more detail if there are areas of concern.

Step 2– Contact your local speech therapy department to see if they offer a service. In New Zealand this will be through the Child Development Team, Ministry of Health (ring your local hospital), or through Speech Therapy at the Ministry of Education.

Step 3 – If you are not eligible for funded therapy or you find the wait list too long, contact Jennifer Lyons or your local private feeding therapist. In New Zealand you can find them at NZSTA (New Zealand Speech Therapy Association).