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Does my child need feeding therapy?

Most children will go through a fussy eating stage as a part of normal development, which generally occurs between 18 months and 3 years of age. However, some children don’t ‘grow out’ of this stage and are referred to as ‘problem feeders’, and require help from a feeding therapist.

Young child with white shirt in a white high chair has a bowl of orange coloured puree with a spoon and a white sippy cup with a green lid in front of them. Child has both hands covering there eyes/face. Feeding Therapy | Able Kids Therapy

Fussy eaters may:

  • Eat more than 30 different foods
  • Stop eating foods they used to like, but will start eating them again after a break.
  • Eat at least one food from most food groups and textures.
  • Tolerate having new foods on their plate, will try to touch or taste new foods.
  • Sometimes eat foods that are different to what the rest of the family eats at mealtimes.
Young child sitting at the table with a white napkin covering their clothes. Has a plate of assorted fruit in front of them. The child is holding a silver fork in their left hand while looking down at the plate of fruit with a screwed up face. Feeding Therapy | Able Kids Therapy

Problem eaters may:

  • Eat less than 20 different foods
  • Stop eating foods they used to like, but the foods aren’t eaten again after a break
  • Refuse to eat entire food groups and/or textures
  • Can’t tolerate having new foods on their plate, won’t try to touch or taste new foods.
  • Continue to rely on formula and/or baby food purees for most of their nutrition after 18 months of age.
  • Have episodes of vomiting, choking, gagging or tantrums at most meals.
  • Almost always eat foods that are different to what the rest of the family eats at mealtimes.
  • Have difficulty with the physical aspects of drinking, chewing or swallowing.
  • Mealtimes are a battle and cause stress and anxiety for family members.

How can our clinic help?

The aim of feeding therapy is to reduce the stress and anxiety that children and parents feel about eating and mealtimes, and give them the confidence to explore new foods and enjoy meals together.

Our therapy approaches focus on creating a low-pressure mealtime routine and environment, improving eating and chewing skills, and helping children to overcome their fears of different food types and textures.

Our speech pathologists and occupational therapists are trained in a variety of complementary approaches including Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS), AEIOU and the Beckman Oral Motor protocol.

Financial support for accessing speech pathology and occupational therapy services can be provided by:

  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – We offer NDIS funded services under the Early childhood and Therapeutic Supports – Capacity Building category. We can accept clients who are plan managed or self-managed.
  • Private health insurance – All of our professionals have Medicare provider numbers, which means you may be able claim for eligible services, depending on your level of cover.
  • Medicare Chronic Disease Management Plans (CDMP) – You can claim a rebate on up to five allied health sessions per year with a referral from your GP. Please note that the rebate does not cover the full cost of sessions.
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