Pediatric Services | Feeding

Selective Eating and Oral Motor Skills

Cascada Resilient Therapy’s feeding philosophy is family and relationship-centered around creating mealtime peace and focuses on your child developing a lasting, positive and loving relationship with food, themselves, and their bodies. 

 

“Mealtime Peace by Piece” was developed using a responsive feeding framework that draws from the wisdom and expertise of many different experts in the field, which are all evidenced-based and proven to be effective for children of all ages! Through either individual sessions or the Mealtime Peace by Piece parent training program, your family’s mealtime routines and your child’s unique sensory profile, physical/oral motor skills, and emotional responsiveness will be nurtured to address their feeding difficulties holistically to help them grow a love of food and create Mealtime Peace by Piece in your home! 

 

Interested in our one-on-one parent training feeding services or group courses? Click here to find out more!

What does feeding therapy look like?

Cascada Resilient Therapy sees children for feeding therapy who are the age of 6 months or above. In-home and online telehealth sessions are available. The type of feeding therapy your child will receive will be different based on your child’s individualized needs. This can vary based on age, sensory profile, oral motor skills, and emotional responsiveness around foods/during mealtimes. We are committed to collaborating with any other professionals including occupational and physical therapists, physicians, dietitians and nutritionists, counselors, or other professionals to ensure the highest quality, specialized care and outcomes for your child and your family. Our main goal for feeding therapy is to bring Mealtime Peace to your home, and sessions are designed to be fun for your child and the whole family! Schedule your free consultation with us now and see below for additional details on the programs we offer and how your child and family could benefit from feeding therapy.

 

How can my child and family benefit from feeding therapy?


Your child and family could benefit from feeding therapy and/or our parent training course, Mealtime Peace by Piece, if mealtimes are stressful or your child:

  • Exhibits signs of being a selective (“picky”) eater:

    • Consistently refuses to eat certain foods related to the taste, texture, temperature, smell, and/or appearance (e.g., foods that are wet, dry, chewy/hard, etc.)

    • Has limited foods in their diet or avoids certain food groups (e.g., fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc.)

    • Is reluctant to try new foods

    • Becomes distressed during mealtimes

    • Eats well when given foods they like

  • Has difficulty at mealtimes or mealtimes have become stressful for your family

  • Drools frequently

  • Mouths or sucks on toys, shirts, hair, blankets/Loveys, etc. 

  • Is a messy eater or chews with their mouth open/smacks their food

  • Has a tongue thrust

  • Gags/chokes on their food or does not chew their foods completely

  • Overstuffs their food or pockets their food in their cheeks

  • Has difficulty transitioning to purees/solid foods

What programs do we offer? 

 

  • Individual treatment sessions: one-on-one, personalized treatment sessions; in-home and online teletherapy appointments available

  • Individual parent training sessions: A personalized version of our Mealtime Peace by Piece course that supports families who have stressful mealtimes or children that are selective eaters, have a limited amount of foods in their repertoire, experience sensory aversions to foods, or have oral motor delays that impact their ability to accept age appropriate foods. 

*Note: This option may be best if you are unable to make the 7-week commitment to a group course, a group course is not being offered, or if you are uninterested in tapping into the supportive network that allows you to make connections with other families experiencing the same difficulties as yours...no judgement - groups are not for everyone, and that is okay. :) 

  • Mealtime Peace by Piece: A 7-week, group course that supports families who have stressful mealtimes or children that are selective eaters, have a limited amount of foods in their repertoire, experience sensory aversions to foods, or have oral motor delays that impact their ability to accept age appropriate foods. 

What does a feeding evaluation look like?

Before the evaluation:

 

  • We will schedule a 15 - 20 minute phone consultation and interview in order to discuss pertinent medical and developmental history, your reasons for seeking treatment, and how to prepare for the evaluation. 

What to have prepared for the evaluation:

  • 2 - 3 non-preferred foods of varying textures

  • 2 - 3 preferred foods of varying textures 

*If possible, all foods should include varying levels of textures/temperatures and at least one *preferred* food should be a type of crunchy/chewy food to allow the therapist to examine your child’s oral motor skills when eating.

During the evaluation: 

  • Follow up: The therapist will arrive and address any follow-up questions with the parents/caregivers from the phone consultation and interview.

  • Getting acquainted: In a space that is not the kitchen/mealtime area, the therapist will play a quick and simple game or activity and/or have a short conversation with your child (depending on their age and comfort level) to get acquainted and help the child understand why the therapist is present in the home.

  • Response to foods: The therapist will transition your child to the kitchen, or wherever they typically eat. The expectation will be that we are going to go see “what foods are available and what we think about them.” This portion of the evaluation will include your child and the therapist interacting with foods together. The goal of this interaction is for the therapist to get an accurate representation of how your child interacts around various foods. Trial therapy may also be conducted to determine the best treatment approaches for your child and to determine their comfort level.


Important notes:

  • We have found that it is typically best if the parents are not present in the room during the “response to foods” portion of the evaluation, so the therapist can get the most accurate representation of the child’s true attitudes/feelings about the provided foods and food in general. However, you are welcome to be present or in an adjacent room if you would prefer.

  • The therapist will tell the child that they do not have to eat or do anything they are not comfortable with but that she wants to see what they think about the "available foods."

  • The therapist will sometimes share her personal, honest feelings about foods with your child in order to make connections and allow your child to feel comfortable expressing their honest feelings as well. 

  • We will not discuss “how your child did” after the “response to foods” portion of the evaluation in front of your child in order to respect their feelings and minimize further internalization of their difficulties with foods.


After the evaluation:

 

  • You will be contacted 7 - 10 business days after the evaluation (excluding holidays) once the detailed report has been completed in order to set up a parent conference.

  • The parent conference will be a 45 - 60 minute session where the therapist will review the findings from the evaluation with you, the best options for treatment, and how treatment will proceed. This will also be a time for you to have the opportunity to ask all the questions you have regarding your child’s care.

  • If you decide you would like to pursue treatment, we will also discuss your preferred times and modalities to set up reoccurring sessions or put your name on the list for enrollment in our Mealtime Peace by Piece course

 


"Mealtime Peace by Piece"

This course is designed to provide families with support strategies for challenging mealtimes and treatment for children with feeding difficulties through a relationship-centered, responsive feeding framework. Our main goal is to help you support your child in developing a lasting, positive and loving relationship with food, themselves, and their bodies. 

Building internal motivation is the key ingredient in a child’s ability to feel successful around feeding and mealtimes. Mealtime Peace by Piece builds this internal motivation by developing enjoyment of the sensory aspects of food, social components of mealtimes, the ability to read body cues, and confidence in oral skills when eating.

Following the child’s lead is the foundation on which of all our treatment approaches is built, so feeding and mealtimes are no different. Mealtime Peace by Peace teaches you how to be sensitive and adjust your strategies to best respond to your child’s cues in order to help them progress and feel confident, while celebrating your successes in supporting your child as well! 

This course is a 7-week series and will cover the following topics: 

  • Establishing mealtime peace guidelines

  • How children eat and how it affects their food choices

  • Understanding sensory food aversion

  • Identifying pressures and stressors that impact mealtimes

  • Educate, enjoy, explore! How to teach your child to interact with foods in engaging and approachable ways

  • A holiday survival guide with selective eaters

  • Mealtime planning for the whole family

Your family could benefit from this course if mealtimes are stressful or if your child: 

 

  • Exhibits signs of being a selective (“picky”) eater:

  • Consistently refuses to eat certain foods related to the taste, texture, temperature, smell, and/or appearance (e.g., foods that are wet, dry, chewy/hard, etc.)

  • Has limited foods in their diet or avoids certain food groups (e.g., fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc.)

  • Is reluctant to try new foods

  • Becomes distressed during mealtimes

  • Eats well when given foods they like

  • Has difficulty at mealtimes or mealtimes have become stressful for your family

  • Is a messy eater or chews with their mouth open/smacks their food

  • Has a tongue thrust

  • Gags/chokes on their food or does not chew their foods completely

  • Overstuffs their food or pockets their food in their cheeks

  • Has difficulty transitioning to purees/solid foods

If you are interested in participating in the Mealtime Peace by Piece course, please contact us at 512-661-7971 to get additional information about pricing, dates, and if this course could benefit your family. 

Please note that this course has a limited number of available spots. Call soon to get your child’s name on the list for enrollment in our next course - we are so excited to help you and your family grow throughout this program!