Sensory Feeding Approach (SOS)
The sensory feeding approach is a method used by occupational therapists to address feeding difficulties in children, especially those with sensory processing issues. This approach is based on the belief that a child's sensory processing abilities can affect their feeding skills and behavior.
The sensory feeding approach focuses on the following:
Sensory processing: Occupational therapists assess a child's sensory processing skills and identify any underlying sensory issues that may be contributing to feeding difficulties. For example, a child may have difficulty with texture, smell, or taste of foods.
Modifying the feeding environment: Therapists work with parents and caregivers to create a feeding environment that is safe, supportive, and conducive to the child's needs. This may involve changing the lighting, sound, or temperature in the room or reducing distractions during mealtime.
Gradual exposure: Therapists use a gradual exposure approach to introduce new foods and textures to children. They start with small, non-threatening bites of food and gradually increase the size and variety of foods over time.
Positive reinforcement: Therapists use positive reinforcement to encourage children to try new foods and develop healthy eating habits. This may involve rewarding the child with praise or small rewards for trying new foods or eating a healthy meal.
Oral motor exercises: Therapists may also use oral motor exercises to improve the child's ability to chew, swallow, and manipulate food. These exercises may include blowing bubbles, sucking through a straw, or chewing on chew toys.
Overall, the sensory feeding approach is a holistic method that addresses the complex interplay between a child's sensory processing abilities and their feeding skills. By addressing both of these factors, occupational therapists can help children overcome feeding difficulties and develop healthy eating habits.