Services Offered

Feeding

Although feeding problems are often viewed as being psychological in nature, research shows that 90% of young children experiencing feeding difficulties have real physical issues, such as pain during feeding, poor oral motor control, or significant oral hypersensitivities, which leave them with insufficient skills to eat. In a 2003 study of 349 children, the majority of whom were referred for a “behavioural feeding problem”, only 2.58% of the children did not have medical issues that interfered with their feeding (Field et al., 2003). The maladaptive behaviours typically associated with very “picky eaters” are typically secondary to a skill deficit.

As a mother to two young problem feeders, the Director of the West Island Speech Clinic intimately understands the stresses involved in having a child with feeding issues.  Lindsay Lapaquette offers evaluations and feeding therapy to children aged 0-9 years, using the Sequential Oral Sensory (S.O.S.) Approach to Feeding. A child can be seen for feeding therapy as soon as atypical behaviours become noticeable, as early as 6‑9 months of age.

Contact us for a free phone consultation.

Did you know???

  • It is a myth that children will eat when they are hungry. Approximately 4% of children do not have adequate skills to eat the foods presented. Therefore, advising parents to simply withhold preferred foods as a means to encourage the child to eat is not an appropriate course of action for these children.
  • In evaluating a child’s feeding behaviours, it is important to consider what the child will eat consistently and not the foods that he/she will only eat on occasion.
  • When parents report feeding difficulties, growth is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether or not to refer for assessment and therapy. In various studies, 24-77% of children identified with a feeding disorder were not below the 5th percentile on their weight curve.
  • Food should not be introduced until the child is able to sit upright independently, as the muscles required to execute the skills involved in feeding are not yet adequately developed.
  • For preterm infants, developmental ages must be adjusted for the introduction of foods.
  • Disruption in feeding may be an early warning sign of conditions such as autism, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy and congenital heart defects.

Risk factors for feeding disorders:

  • As a baby, had difficulty transitioning from smooth purées to textured purées or from textured purées to finger foods.
  • Child will not eat foods with certain textures and/or will not mix foods with different textures (ex. will eat ham and bread, but not a sandwich).
  • Child will not eat any foods from at least one food group.
  • Child frequently insists on being presented with the same foods.
  • Child cannot tolerate new foods on his/her plate.
  • Child only wants to eat “junk food”: these foods tend to be easier to manage from both an oral-motor and a sensory standpoint, which can be why the child will refuse other foods.
  • Child will not remain seated during mealtimes.
  • Mealtimes are very stressful.
  • Parents need to use distractors to get the child to eat (ex. tv, toys, etc.).
  • Child throws temper tantrums during meals.
  • Mealtimes last longer than 30 minutes.
  • Parents are using extrinsic rewards or coaxing during mealtimes.

Which children tend to be particularly at risk for presenting feeding difficulties?

  • Preterm infants and/or infants with low birth weights: research has shown that the risk for children born at 34 – 36.6 weeks gestation is almost exactly the same as that for children born early preterm (DeMauro et al., 2006).
  • Children with developmental disabilities: feeding disturbances are present in 33-80% of these children (Arvedson, 2008; Lefton-Greif, 2008; Williams, Witherspoon, Kavsac, Patterson, & McBlain, 2006).
  • Infants/children with gastroesophageal reflux disease or other gastrointestinal disorders: 50% of children referred to feeding clinics have had GERD.
  • Children with food sensitivities or intolerances.
  • Children who have failure to thrive.
  • Babies who do not put objects in their mouths.

Contact Us

West Island Speech Clinic
(514) 551-0493
info@westislandspeech.ca
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