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My son just turned 3 years old and he started feeding therapy today. His menu is very limited. He will eat dry foods, but doesn't do well with mushy foods. I've been lucky that he was able to get in with a great speech pathologist/feeding therapist. Can you tell me what kind of success you've had with feeding therapy? I'm being realistic, I don't expect him to be eating salads, but it sure would be nice to add a few more dishes to his menu. The feeding therapist said that his problem is sensory processing and that eating is a big one because it combines all senses into one. I looked at the sensory processing checklist and he doesn't have any of the other items except for the food. It really is so hard to believe that this is not selective eating on his part since he'll gladly eat any type of candy bar or chips without any problem. So annoying really.
 

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Both my DDs did feeding therapy. One did it in combination of OT for SPD (DD1) and the other was straight feeding therapy for muscle weakness(DD2).<br><br>
It was very helpful for both of them.<br><br>
DD1- it was more of a use of oral motor tools (brush, vibrating toothbrush, gum,etc) to help her chew, tolerate heated foods, not chew on non-food items, pocketed food in her cheeks, and refused to eat mixed foods. She did not like textures, would swallow foods whole, and ate very little variety besides meat and 'crunchy' foods or fruit. She now still eats a lot of meat, but does 80% better and eats what we eat as a family. An occasional reminder to chew is all that remains---and well she still puts non-food items in her mouth, but her diet is great!! It was mixed in with her regular OT who was experienced in feeding and they did a lot of physical exercises to help, the incorporated it in her OT around the therapy room. She has always eaten a good amount, but seemed to crave strong flavored foods and meats. We discovered she was lactose intolerant around this time as well, she has SPD and few other mild issues.<br><br>
DD2 worked with a feeding therapist/speech path. They worked a lot with actual foods as well as oral tools and sat at a table. She did not chew,only used one side of her mouth, could not pucker her mouth, could not use a straw, ate only bland foods and fruit- used to be VERY picky. She still tends to gravitate toward bland starchy foods or sweets-- but will tolerate mixed foods. She now chews her food well and can use most straws/blow bubbles. She is still a peanut (30 lbs at 4 yr old) and does not eat 'enough', but nutritionally she is doing much better on variety. She also has severe reflux so that has not helped, but no other health concerns.<br><br>
They both had therapy between the ages of 26 & 32 months. With DD1 getting more OT from 36-42 months and yet again through the schools starting this Fall. They now eat the family meal with us with no to few accommodations (no dairy for DD1) and are 4 years old. They dont eat it all adn dont eat some of the foods, but there is enough and a wide enough variety that I dont 'add' anything. They usually 'try' it, which is great considering where we came from.
 

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Honestly? Older dd spent 2 years in feeding therapy and did not make a single bit of progress she saw OT/PT/ST 2x a week and when we switched centers she saw OT/PT/ST and the feeding team 4 days a week for the last year. At 33 months she was basically 99% breastmilk and then one day up and decided to start eating after having spent the previous 33 months acting like you were trying to kill her when you offered her food or tried feeding her. dd also had major sensory issues and while EI helped a lot with those they were never able to get her to really eat. When she did start eating we found she only liked multitextured strongly flavored foods like broccoli, fresh salsa, chili ect. Due to severe reflux the GI had been insisting on only giving bland foods and the feeding team insisted on purees saying she had to learn to deal with them first but they always triggered a gag reaction. It wasn't until dd showed interest in eating my food we realized what was going on, yes she associated eating with pain but she also needed the sensory input from her food. They didn't do so well in helping younger dd either so I don't have much faith in feeding therapy. At this point I'm sticking with "yes it may be really frustrating to have a kid who won't eat but one day they probably will start eating all on there own if you don't make it a battle because its one battle you will never win."<br><br>
Barring any obvious physical defects in another child I probably wouldn't do the feeding team again except as an occasional consult for ideas as they seemed to cause more issues then they solved in both my kids.
 

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We did have some success... Our son (autism & spd) saw a feeding therapist for 6 months last year--he started with a small handful of foods he would eat and today he will at least try almost everything. He still doesn't eat a variety, but he at least tries it (today I got him to take a bite out of a sauteed Asian long bean...something he never would have even touched before. A bite is huge). He was also eating max 800 calories a day pre-therapy and today he eats quite a bit more, even if it's just a few foods. So even though he's not eating everything we eat and he's still only 38 lbs (and will be 6 next week), I define it as a successful therapy.
 

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I thought it helped DS, 5 with ASD and sensory issues. One book that our feeding therapist wanted us to get was "Food Chaining". Not sure of the exact title but this was the method that we used and it seemed to help - along with a reward system. It also helped that DS loved this therapist and so would be more inclined to try to new foods because he was doing it for her. In the end, our insurance changed so I could not continue but it helped me very much to introduce new foods to him, to improve my attitude about feeding, and be able to take him out to restaurants with greater ease because now he could order off the menu and be content. I would of loved to continue with more sessions but just didn't have the insurance to cover it.
 

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We had what I consider a huge success with DS in private feeding therapy. This was after about a year of useless EI. The private feeding therapist we paid for out of pocket and got slightly reimbursed by insurance. She is a speech therapist who specializes in feeding therapy. She really connected with DS and he loved her. I think that was the key. She also identified his oral motor issues that were a big problem for him. He also has sensory issues, but first she tackled the oral motor issues. She also came to our house to do the feeding therapy. He was way more relaxed being at home for therapy rather than trying to get him somewhere else he'd be too overwhelmed with. It did take 3-4 months for him to start eating anything, but I recognized early on that they connected well and that she was working on his oral motor issues. My early impression was that it seemed to have potential, and it really did work out. It was all play-based therapy, and no undue pressure was placed on him. I saw what she was doing with each once-a-week session, so I worked on it with him every day in between. That helped too. He was initially afraid to touch anything with his hands. We worked on sensory things with his hands, since the hands and mouth senses seem to work together. I think that helped him not be so scared of textures, but it took time.<br><br>
The EI experience (before the private speech therapist) wasn't so great. The EI speech therapist didn't do feeding therapy. The EI feeding therapist was an OT. Neither one caught the oral motor issues likely causing him to be afraid of even trying food. They never mentioned the word sensory - I suspect they didn't know what SPD is. None of them ever really connected with DS, so he really didn't like them. They were often a bit pushy trying to get him to eat. I didn't like their approach, but at the time didn't know any better.<br><br>
So, I'd say the success of feeding therapy depends heavily on the therapist and his/her connection with the child.<br><br>
DS still has sensory and texture issues, but he has learned that certain textures are ok. He has also learned that he really likes some foods...yay! I thought we'd never get here. As we were going along, I have tried to slowly introduce foods that I thought would have the most success. It seems like the more positive experiences that he had, the better he was able to make progress. We are still working making slight additions and changes to what he will eat, very slowly making progress.<br><br>
BTW, my DS never liked soft foods either. The first thing he was able to hold, and then later put into his mouth was a hard pretzel stick. The feeding therapist recognized this and we were able to work from where he was at (hard foods) toward other textures. We worked one new texture at a time (on a given week or two), so as not to overwhelm him with too many new textures at once.<br><br>
For reference, my DS was about 21 or 22 months old when he started with the good speech/feeding therapist. He was in feeding therapy for 8 months. This is when the therapist went on emergency maternity leave, so we pretty much stopped therapy there.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">My son just turned 3 years old and he started feeding therapy today. His menu is very limited. He will eat dry foods, but doesn't do well with mushy foods. I've been lucky that he was able to get in with a great speech pathologist/feeding therapist. Can you tell me what kind of success you've had with feeding therapy? I'm being realistic, I don't expect him to be eating salads, but it sure would be nice to add a few more dishes to his menu. The feeding therapist said that his problem is sensory processing and that eating is a big one because it combines all senses into one. I looked at the sensory processing checklist and he doesn't have any of the other items except for the food. It really is so hard to believe that this is not selective eating on his part since he'll gladly eat any type of candy bar or chips without any problem. So annoying really.</div>
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I've done feeding therapy very successfully with a few kids. (Only tried it with a few and it was successful.)<br><br>
Many children with sensory issues like candy, as all children do, and crunchy things like chips. And for kids who will try different ones but not other new foods, this is where I start.<br><br>
With food issues, I like to start where the child is currently comfortable. They have trouble with new brands, new flavors, new textures, new labels, new temperatures, new ways of eating (fork v. fingers), whatever it is, if you start where they are already comfortable, it's easy to change one thing at a time so that they can much more easily try something new. If it's still candy but a different flavor of a current enjoyed bar, or a different milk chocolate bar when they already like milk chocolate, or a new brand of potato chip, you let them get comfortable with trying new foods and trusting you while still within their comfort zone. Then once you have established this, you can work on expanding the amount of changes that happen.<br><br>
There are also huge non-sensory issues related to eating that are often linked to the sensory ones - pressure to try new foods, pressure to eat at the table with others, pressure to eat when there are too many other sensory things happening at once, even a single experience of force feeding. All can play into it.<br><br>
But with a therapist that takes the time to know the child, gain his/her trust, and start where the child feels comfortable and supported, feeding therapy can result in a child who eats over 200 foods including vegetables and hummus instead of the original 15 crunchy ones he used to eat.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that"> PikkuMyy has the same approach as the good feeding therapist we had. That's what worked for my DS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for your responses. My feeding therapist has PikkuMyy's approach. We had our first session this week and DS loved it. She got him to eat some Fruit Chillers and last night we went out and bought some at the store, he was all excited. My task is to freeze fruit purees at home and introduce them to him. I also bought different types of crackers. He is actually very open to trying different types of crackers so what I do is add some peanut butter on them to give him more nutrition and he is very open to that. He'll eat pretty much any dry cereal too. As you can see he's a big starch eater. The biggest challenge will be the meals, like the meat and potatoes and veggies. I'm staying hopeful. I've heard comments from many people that if I was able to get in with this therapist that I've won the jackpot. We'll see.
 

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Re: meat, potatoes, and veggies...<br><br>
FWIW, we've had no luck with meat of any kind - he hates the texture. But he will do smooth cashew butter on either a cracker or bread - we worked up to that. He will also sometimes do eggs either in an omelet or well-done scrambled...both of those with ketchup to dip in, of course. Occasionally he will eat one particular kind of fish nugget, with ketchup of course. That plus goat cheese (he's sensitive to cow's milk) and he's okay for protein. He still won't eat potatoes either (except potato chips <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">). But there are other starches he will eat (pasta, crackers, bread). We do have a few veggies, though: peeled, steamed carrots, raw cucumber with either salt or goat yogurt dip, and peeled raw bell pepper with goat yogurt dip. I have to keep in mind that for DS, this is great, because he wasn't eating anything before.<br><br>
Oh, and the other day, he actually tried some steamed peas! He saw me eating them and it was really weird that he asked to try some, because historically he hasn't touched food that comes in little "bits" like rice or corn kernels or ... peas.<br><br>
As for him eating anything resembling a meal that I might eat...likely not, unless I want pasta and sauce, or mac-n-(goat)cheese. All three of us eat different "meals" here.
 
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