Many children can struggle with the various stages in becoming a competent eater. Some children may struggle with managing different textures, flavours and end up with a reduced variety of foods. This reduced variety can impact on their health, growth and development, it can lead to social anxiety when eating with friends at school or at parties and family meal times can become stressful for all. Your child will benefit from healthy eating at every stage of development – from birth, when good nourishment is needed for rapid growth – to teenage years where fuel for growth needs is balanced with the development of health independence.
Our Dietitians Rachel Tutill and Jodie Sheraton has additional training and experience with children who present as fussy eaters or problem feeders and with families who feel that mealtimes are stressful and chaotic and wish that their children could eat better. They can assist families who have a child who eats a low volume of food and experiences poor weight gain, or if your child only eats a limited variety of tastes and textures each day, or perhaps you have noticed that your child has developed some undesirable behaviours around eating.
For families who experience power struggle at meals times can benefit from Rachel’s strategies that encourage parents to take leadership with the what, when, and where of feeding and give children autonomy with the how much and whether of eating, restoring more enjoyable family meal times. Our Paediatric Dietitians – Rachel and Jodie are also registered NDIS providers. Should you have NDIS funding either as plan or agency managed or self managed we are able to assist you with this and allocate services as required.
Some common issues parents may experience with their child’s nutrition / food intake:
- Fussy eating
- Food refusal
- Food allergies / intolerances
- Growth concerns
- Iron deficiency
- Difficulty introducing solids or progressing through food textures
- Formula requirements
- Weight concerns
- Special medical conditions
- Lunch box and snack ideas
- Meal time preparation – meal planning
Now is the time to introduce life-long healthy eating habits for your child and the whole family. For more information or to make an appointment with one of our dietitians please contact us at one of our consult locations.
Fussy Eaters and Problem Feeders – Food-Play-Eat Program
Working with Rachel and Jodie you can expect to experience a more positive interaction with food and establish mealtime routines and cues to eating, increase your child’s range of foods they will touch, taste, try and lead to increased variety and volume of food. Jodie is an accredited SOS feeding consultant (‘Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding’) which is a therapy for fussy eaters & problem feeders. This treatment utilises the typical developmental steps towards feeding to create a systematic desensitisation hierarchy of skills and behaviours that are necessary for children to progress with eating various textures and meet their nutritional requirements for growth. Together Jodie and Rahel have developed the Food-Play-Eat program.
Who will benefit from our Food-Play-Eat program?
- A Child who has a low volume of oral intake
- A Child who has poor weight gain
- A Child who has a limited variety of tastes and textures in diet
- A Child who has difficulties transitioning to advanced textures
- A Child who has maladaptive behaviours around eating
- Families who power struggle at meals
Jodie has created the ‘Food-Play-Eat’ program (based on the SOS feeding approach and Ellyn Satter Institute research) to support children become competent, confident and courageous eaters. It is a 3 month intensive program where Rachel or Jodie will work with the parents to teach their child to eat at a pace that respects their readiness to progress through learning the different steps involved in eating. We teach the children the skills they need in order to eat a wide variety of food types and textures using the natural, social reinforcement of playing with the food and interacting with adults. Your child will learn to:
- Have positive experiences with food,
- Feel comfortable with mealtime routines and cues to eating,
- You will see a decrease in their resistance to touching, tasting and swallowing food,
- Increase range of foods your child is willing try,
- Consume an increase in the volume of food ingested and
- You as the parent will experience an increased confidence, skills and understanding when feeding your child.
The program is structured on a 12 session protocol the Food-Play-Eat Package includes:
- Initial Assessment and meal time/eating development history
- Home or clinic based Feeding / meal time baseline competency assessment
- 8 weeks of Food School Learning: lessons and observations (parent and child) – together establishing home sensory preparation routine, meal time routine, eating competency and parent/child division of feeding responsibility model.
- Foods chosen for the home Food School Learning sessions are based on the individual child’s needs and will progress through the 32 steps to eating competency.
- Growth measures collected and evaluated where required
- Referral to other feeding practitioners where indicated (if your child has complex feeding difficulties) such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology and a list of accredited clinicians can be provided to you on request.
- 12 week final session on feeding / meal time competency and evaluation
Now is the time to introduce life-long healthy eating habits for your child and whole family. For more information or to make an appointment with one of our dietitians please contact us at one of our consult locations.
The theory and methods used by our Dietitian Jodie Sheraton have been developed by Dr. Kay Toomey based on over 30 years of work with children who have difficulty with feeding and eating. The program, called the SOS (Sequential-Oral-Sensory) Approach to Feeding, is taught by Dr. Toomey and her team worldwide.
*Please note: Children with complex feeding difficulties may require additional services from an Occupational Therapist or Speech Pathologist and a list of accredited clinicians can be provided to you on request.