Okay, it’s been a bugbear of mine for a while and this morning, I felt like discussing a controversial topic….
There will always be waves of popularity with feeding techniques in Australia but something you need to know as a parent is that…
There is no one technique that will fix all children
If your child only eats smooth puree (gags/vomits on textured food) and is older than 8 months old (or even 12 months)- then you will need a Paediatric Feeding Speech Pathologist.
If your child is aspirating (food/fluid going into their lungs), then you will also need a Paediatric Feeding Speech Pathologist who will no doubt be liaising with the team at your local Paediatric Hospital.
If your child has sensory or tone/positioning issues with meals, then an Occupational therapist will be perfect.
If your child has behavioural or anxiety related issues with meals, then a Clinical Psychologist with an interest in feeding will be ideal.
If your child has nutrition or growth related concerns, then a Paediatric Dietitian will be able to help.
I’m sure I didn’t cover all the areas, but it gives you the general idea of what I’m getting at. But even when you see a therapist, it will be up to them to assess your child and pick the best technique based on your child’s strengths and difficulties or even refer you to another therapist who will be able to help more specifically. Ideally, paediatric feeding works best in a team like the Little Foodies Feeding Team or teams at our local Hospital but even in isolation, therapists can liaise and work together in virtual teams.
Let me get clearer with an example – the SOS Feeding protocol is a great technique (and I use it a lot) however it will not be the technique I use every time – there are many talented international feeding gurus like Suzanne Evans Morris, Joan Arvedson, Ellyn Satter, Jeri Logemann as well as local Australian Speech Pathologists who are doing ground breaking research and developing functional and practical strategies in paediatric feeding. So part of the responsibility you place on your feeding therapist is not only to assess your child’s skills, but it is also to pick the best feeding technique for your child.
Please parents, don’t be afraid to ask – this is about your child and you deserve to understand what feeding program is used and why. Sometimes, it might even be picking the right time to use a technique or even a combination of techniques and team work of therapists that make the positive difference for your child.
You can still ask if a therapist is trained in a specific technique (and there are some feeding techniques that I flatly refuse to use) but with respect, you cannot ask a therapist to use a specific technique on your child (nor can your doctor). You can keep searching until you find an experienced feeding therapist and then work with them as a team to deliver the best individualised therapy program for your child. There – I said it!
I would love your thoughts!
Until next time,
This website and information on this blog post is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant or intended to replace Speech Pathology assessment and management nor medical or nutritional care for a child. It is recommended that you discuss any concerns or questions you might have with your Speech Pathologist and managing Doctor and develop an individualised team plan specifically for your child. Phillip Lindsay Jersey