Can a Speech Pathologist help with Feeding?
Some children are very sensitive to different textures in their mouth and on their faces. They may also have poor awareness of where their various oral structures are. These children often gag on food, are messy eaters and later in life may develop speech sound difficulties. Speech pathologists are trained in assessing, diagnosing and treating feeding difficulties. Speech pathologists use their knowledge of behaviour, muscles, nerves and processes that need to occur for successful chewing and swallowing. With the right advice, support and equipment your child can be on the way to becoming a better eater.
By helping your child to overcome their feeding difficulties you may achieve:
- Your child improving the range of healthy foods to support their development and long term health.
- A less stressful mealtime for the whole family.
- Reduced chance of developing speech sound difficulties which are often observed in children with feeding issues.
- Increased development in other areas such as sensory perception, fine motor skills and independence.
- More time and energy to enjoy your child as they grow up.
Signs of possible feeding issues
Feeding difficulties take many forms but these are some signs a consultation may be needed:
- Drooling or spilling food from the mouth when eating or drinking.
- Difficulties chewing or moving food around in the mouth.
- Difficulty transitioning from purees, to soft lumps, to foods requiring chewing, or refusal of solids.
- Lengthy or tedious mealtimes.
- Coughing or choking when eating.
- Refusal to eat a wide range of foods.
An initial assessment is required so the speech pathologist can gather information and observe your child eating. This allows us to plan the best support and feeding program for your child. Feeding assessments are conducted in our office and usually take 1 1/2 hours. Follow up therapy sessions are hour long sessions. There is more information about this service here in the Picky and Problem Eaters brochure. Before you come for your first appointment you will be asked to organize a specific range of foods and drinks to bring along to the assessment. The food will vary depending on the age of the child but will generally include a range of textures.
Make an appointment
Making an appointment to get started is easy. Contact us by phoning (08) 8255 7137 or send us an email enquiry to arrange an assessment.