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When seeking support for your child's feeding difficulties, understanding the roles of feeding specialists, occupational therapists (OTs), and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) is essential. Each profession brings unique expertise and approaches to feeding therapy, tailored to address different aspects of feeding challenges and promote optimal outcomes for children.

Feeding Specialists:

Feeding specialists are highly trained professionals with a primary focus on feeding and swallowing difficulties. They have pursued specialized education and certifications, such as the SOS Approach to Feeding Therapy or TalkTools Oral Placement Therapy, to address complex feeding issues. They may include Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Nutritionists. Feeding specialists use evidence-based techniques to assess and treat feeding problems, including difficulties with chewing, swallowing, and food aversions. Their expertise lies in developing personalized strategies to improve oral motor skills, expand food acceptance, and ensure safe and efficient swallowing.

Occupational Therapists (OTs):

Occupational therapists play a crucial role in addressing feeding difficulties, particularly those related to sensory processing and self-feeding skills. OTs have specialized training in sensory integration for the entire body, making them adept at addressing global sensory challenges that may impact feeding. They work on improving oral motor strength, coordination, and self-feeding abilities, such as using utensils and mealtime routines. OTs also collaborate with families to create sensory-friendly environments and strategies to promote successful feeding experiences at home and in various settings.

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs):

SLPs are trained in assessing and treating various aspects of swallowing disorders (dysphagia). SLPs focus on evaluating the structures and functions of the mouth and throat related to food management and the intricate swallowing process, from the time food or drink touches the lips until it reaches the stomach. They address oral motor skills, chewing, and swallowing coordination, as well as sensory processing issues specific to feeding. SLPs work collaboratively with feeding specialists and OTs to provide comprehensive care for children with complex feeding challenges, ensuring a holistic approach to improving feeding skills and overall well-being.

If your child is experiencing feeding difficulties and you aren't sure which professional to see to address the issue, reach out to us and we will be happy to answer your questions and provide a recommendation.

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