Feeding Therapy Groups / Individuals
- 4 - 6 children per group
- Age based groups:
- Up to 4 years
- 4 - 6 years
- 7 Years and up
- 1 hour sessions, once weekly
COST: Billable to insurance. Parent responsible for co-pay and any remaining balance not covered by insurance. Private pay option is available.
Is mealtime an everyday struggle in the family? Does your child...
- Demonstrate "picky" eating
- Have a very limited realm of food choices(even down to brand of food)
- Show aversion or avoidance to food of a specific texture or smell or food group
- Have difficulty transitioning from one form of food to another
- Have behavioral meltdown during meals
- Demonstrates choking, gagging or coughing while eating
- Have difficulty controlling food within their mouth (chewing, tongue movements, sucking, etc.)
- Have poor weight gain due to picky eating
- Have a feeding tube
- "Before we enrolled our daughter, age 4, to "Fun with Feeding" class, our meal time was very stressful. It often ended with her crying and screaming, leaving us feeling defeated and like failures every time. I have noticed over the years that her initial reaction to "new" things is always "No!"; this included new food as well. She would not look at the food nor have it on her plate. She would scream until it was out of her sight. So, when her speech therapist told me about "Fun with Feeding" class, I signed up immediately.
The main thing I've learned from this class is that eating, for kids, is a learning process. Like everything else that kids learn, they need to learn by touching the food, playing with it and exploring it in many different ways. It took me a while to get used to this concept and be ok with her "playing" with food. At the beginning, my daughter was not willing to even touch many new foods. She would strongly reject with her usual whining, crying and outbursts. However, slowly but surely, I started to see some changes in her. She started to accept the food being on her plate, and then she was more willing to touch it.
She still had her occasional outburst, especially when a new food was introduced. When she realized that it was ok to spit the food out if she didn't like it she showed more interest in new food. She also got many praises just for trying. Soon she started to ask what we were having for dinner; instead of her usual reaction with "NO! I don't like that!" she started to say "Will I like it?". My reply is "I hope so, but I don't know for sure until you try it and tell me". We soon introduced a "No thank you bite" policy where we encourage her to have at least one bite before she can say she doesn't like it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But, we are just thrilled to see her becoming more relaxed toward food, and meal time is much less stressful.
Fun with Feeding class is not an overnight fix for picky eaters. It does provide new perspectives and understanding on kids' behavior along with tools to help them and parents. We are very happy with the program and grateful for her progress."
- "When he's hungry enough...he'll eat".
"I never make 2 meals. My kids have to eat whatever I make them".
"They get what I give them for dinner or they don't get dessert".
I've heard all of these things. I would just nod and go along with their thoughts that I caused my sweet boy's picky eating habits, even though I knew he was different than those "other" picky eaters. I would laugh when my friends would say that their child was picky too and then ask them what they wanted off the menu at the restaurant where we were all dining. Really? Choices?
I always knew Luke had something going on. He wouldn't put his feet in the sand. He didn't like getting his fingers, clothes, hands, anything dirty. He would completely meltdown if he got a "drip" of water on his clothes...and start pulling them off in a panic (usually at a location outside of our home without any backup clothes). I was always on edge anticipating the next meltdown. I finally talked to many "professionals" and researched on my own - diagnosing my son with Sensory Processing Disorder/Sensory Integration (SI) myself before being evaluated (and officially diagnosed) by a therapist.
A few years of wonderful occupational therapy and a lot of homework at home and we are virtually SI free! They always say the last struggle we would face would be "food issues" with many in the past and some continuing into the present. It started with baby food. I was one of those moms who fed him baby food until he was in his 2's. Not graduating into the toddler food, we continued feeding him the #1 pureed baby food with NO CHUNKS of any sort. It's not that I didn't try to feed him table food. He would gag at 98% of anything I gave him. As he grew, my son would only eat breaded chicken and potatoes for dinner. There was one brand of Costco chicken and Ian's alphabet French fried potatoes that he would eat. I found a "green bean cracker" as we would call it for our veggie, which really was a dehydrated green bean. Thankfully that worked. We could not steer far from that for meals. Breakfast mostly consisted of Cheerios (brand specific again) and maybe yogurt (brand specific). He would eat toast with peanut butter (creamy - absolutely no chunky and that also was brand specific) for lunch. As NOT to get any on his fingers, the toasts had to be cut, eaten with a fork and include absolutely no crust. The toast also had to be cut in squares, as did the chicken. This has continued on for a few years.
Last year, Luke was going to a private school for Kindergarten and was going to have lunch there. All summer I was fretting, as this school was PEANUT free! It took me 3 months to mix peanut butter with the creamiest of almond butters and a little added soy butter to get the right texture in order to slowly wean him off from the peanut butter to the special soy/almond mix that I perfected. (I was quite proud of myself, I must say). I do recall a few times where Luke smelled his lunch from 6 feet away and screamed out... "MOM! That's not my peanut butter"!!!
Everyday at school, I picked up my youngest son from half-day preschool and dropped off "peanut butter" toast cut in squares and open faced on a plate with a fork. EVERYDAY! His lunch did not change at any point during the entire school year. Peanut butter toast, yogurt and some berries.
My life changed when Mansi Dalal, an occupational therapist at MOSAIC Children's Therapy, suggested that Luke join a food therapy class. I chuckled and said under my breath...good luck. I told her we would try it and if he tried ONE NEW FOOD we would have had a win!
Luke joined this food class and had many, many emotional hours of therapy. He would stress about it the day of our appointment. He would tell me he didn't want to go anymore and he spent most of his time in "class" crying. BUT...we had a few wins and those grew and the tears became less and less! I don't recall the first item that he tried...but I remember saying to the therapist...my son? Luke? My Luke tried that??? The tears after that were all mine. Happy tears. Joyful tears. I know many of the moms with "problem eaters" can relate to this.
After a session, the class ended. We slipped back into our old eating habits and Luke wasn't willing to consider trying anything. Another mom from the first class and I begged for the therapist to add a bit of food therapy to our scheduled OT. We happened to be going at the same time. We said we'd bring in the food and do whatever they needed us to do. They did. Luke started crying less and would say he was excited to go.
Lately, he's been saying... "Yay today is food class. I'm so excited to see what new food we're going to try today". There are no more tears. In the past few months or more, Luke has learned to eat red and orange bell peppers, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, and ham sandwich on BREAD (not toast) with lettuce, mayonnaise, cheese, and tomatoes. He's eaten hardboiled eggs (does at home now) and actually had a whole egg salad sandwich. He's eaten pizza with chicken, peppers, peperoni, cheese, and olives. He eats noodles with red and white sauces. He also eats rice and even cookies. At his 7th birthday, he ate his cupcake. That was his FIRST birthday cake that he's eaten... ever! Those were all new foods! He now eats chicken that isn't breaded. I served rotisserie chicken from the store for the first time in 7 years. We more often than not prepare one meal (or close to it) for the family to enjoy. There are no tears. There is no frustration. Luke asks to try things now. YES, he asks. He's tried new foods at home that he hasn't tried in class. He eats a number of brands of granola bars that are both chewy and crunchy. It's not just goldfish for snacks. There are so many options now.
I used to cry with frustration and exhaustion and concern. Now, my tears are tears of joy. The therapists would come into the waiting area to tell me how the session went. For the longest time, they would start with... "Now, don't cry..." --- That always got me. They would continue by saying "...he ate..."
They recently told me that Luke is almost to the point of "graduation". I looked at them and said...NEVER! But, in actuality...he is. When I suggest that he tries a new food that we might be having, he will try it. Often I reward him with something...okay, bribe...but he will try it and likes it 9/10 times. These foods are often added to the ever-growing list of options. I am so grateful to Mansi Dalal, Karen Cherry, Nicole Taylor, Andrea Imlay and Julie, a student intern at MOSAIC.
I cannot find the words to thank them for what they've done for my family, my son and me.
Shared by Gina, Luke's Mom.