Feeding difficulties in children can be caused by several factors:
- Oral Motor Skills
Many children with Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Global Developmental Delay, or Low Muscle Tone can present with feeding difficulties as a result of any or all the above factors.
At Lisa Collins Speech Therapy a thorough oral motor and sensory evaluation will be completed before considering any behavioural explanations for feeding difficulties.
- Difficulty tolerating smells.
- Difficulty sitting at the table for mealtimes.
- Self-limiting diet based on taste, texture, temperature, colour, smell, or brand.
- Decreased ability to control saliva and decreased awareness of saliva on lips or chin.
- Decreased ability to feel food in the mouth or on the lips.
- Decreased ability to discriminate hunger and satiation (never hungry).
- Swallows food that is not adequately broken down.
- Holds food in the mouth for long periods of time, even after chewing.
- Will put any non-food item in their mouth but will not put food in their mouth.
- Has a complicated routine related mealtime.
- Decreased motor skills necessary to break down food effectively, resulting in gaging and choking.
It is very rare that feeding difficulties are purely behavioural, as they are usually secondary to sensory and/or motor difficulties. In cases where feeding difficulties have become behavioural (e.g. for some children with ASD), using the principles of ABA in feeding therapy can be very beneficial.
An individualised programme will be drawn up to suit specific difficulties, this may involve a combination of sensory-motor and behavioural approaches.