Feeding difficulties are very common in many children today. From texture intolerance, hot/cold sensitivity, color preference, and just plain picky eating, feeding issues require skill and patience to address. Little Hands at Play Therapy provides a collaborative team environment with both our speech-language therapists and occupational therapists working together to help each child in our feeding program overcome sensory and/or oral motor dysfunctions.

At Little Hands at Play Therapy, we have increased our focus on feeding therapy so that it’s a fourth major service we offer families. We are one of the only pediatric therapy practices in the Fort Smith and Fayetteville areas to offer this expanded focus.

We created a Feeding Lab office so we can provide sufficient focus on feeding skills. In this room, we can complete assessments to determine if there are sensory issues preventing them from being able to eat easily, or if there are muscular or motor problems. We can easily offer children a wide array of foods, including hot or cold liquids, purées or solids of all textures, tastes, and colors.

As we do for every child, we will utilize every one of our therapies and all of our therapists’ skills to vanquish this barrier to robust health.

Signs a Child Can Benefit from Feeding Therapy

Signs a Child Can Benefit from Feeding Therapy in Fort Smith and Fayetteville AR
  1. Child frequently refuses food, pushing away the spoon.
  2. They will only eat one brand or preparation of a food and refuse others.
  3. When transitioning from puréed foods, the child gags or spits out textured foods.
  4. They refuse to try anything new.
  5. The child has difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  6. The child is irritable or has tantrums at mealtimes.
  7. A very long time is needed to complete a meal.
  8. Certain food textures, temperatures, or flavors cause the child to gag.
  9. The child may frequently vomit during or after meals.
  10. The child resists transition from a bottle to a sippy cup or spoon feeding.
  11. Weight gain or growth is slow.

We understand how stressful it is for a parent who is doing their best to provide nutritious food for their child, only to see mealtimes deteriorate into tears and arguments. We can help ease the way to better nutrition for the child and a more harmonious, enjoyable time for everyone at the dinner table.

How Can We Help a Child Overcome Feeding Problems?

The exact path to the elimination of feeding problems depends on an accurate analysis of the reasons for a child’s feeding problem. Some children need help developing and coordinating their muscles. Others need to overcome a sensitivity to the different textures. Our initial assessment will provide us with a customized program to help an individual child overcome their specific barriers to independent feeding.

Here are some of the many ways we can help:

  • Develop awareness and ability to control the movement of the mouth and throat.
  • Strengthen head, chest, and abdomen muscles to provide a foundation for the muscles used in eating.
  • Improve fine motor skills to make controlling eating implements and food easier.
  • Gradually acclimate children to textures, colors, temperatures, or tastes.

We also help parents implement a plan at home that helps each child begin exploring more varieties of food so that independence in feeding skills can be accomplished.

Pediatric Feeding Therapy Assessment

If you’re concerned about stressful mealtimes, your child’s lack of nutrition, or their failure to gain weight, please consult with us. We can perform a professional feeding assessment of your child and tell you if feeding therapy can help. Please call us to schedule an appointment: 479-226-3409.

“I would highly recommend Little Hands at Play Therapy since they are very good with kids. They helped my kid come out of his shyness. He has improved so much.”

- J.F.

Love Little Hands at Play Therapy. My son always gets excited when he gets to go and ask if he can go when he isn’t there. He is making improvements ! Thanks for helping my child

- C.V.

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