Feeding Therapy by AZ+A & Zier Institute
We Can Help!
Mealtimes are a time for learning and love. Sharing a meal can be a way for a family to spend time together before the start of a busy day or to re-connect after school and work. Calm and happy mealtimes provide space for parents to nourish their child’s body and the child-parent relationship. When a child is viewed as refusing to eat new foods or is not eating as much as parents and caregivers believe they “should,” they are often labeled as “picky eaters.” Fortunately, some children outgrow eating issues, while others need help overcoming these challenges.
Mealtimes may feel challenging and stressful for families when a child struggles to enjoy eating. Children and their parents might begin to avoid family mealtimes or stop eating all together. Feeding therapy can be a lifeline/important support for parents who recognize their child is struggling and want to restore mealtime peace at the dinner table. Through the process of working with a feeding therapist, parents will learn why their child is struggling to enjoy eating and how they can help. Parents and feeding therapists partner together to restore the joy of shared mealtimes.
There are lots of reasons why a child may struggle to eat. Some children have had early developmental experiences that make eating challenging. Other children may have sensory systems that cause them to be sensitive to the textures, smells and flavors of foods. Specific medical conditions, discoordination/coordination difficulties, food allergies, social pressure and anxiety can all contribute to a child’s feeding struggles.
Many parents struggle with anxiety or guilt when their child is not growing or eating well. A feeding therapist will work with parents to provide guidance and a supportive emotional environment. Feeding therapy can help restore a child’s relationship with food and mealtimes.
Feeding Therapy can include:
- Assistance with ongoing management of feeding tubes, introduction of oral eating during a tube transition, tube wean
- Support for children with food allergies
- Guidance for peaceful mealtimes with anxious eaters
- Support for children and adolescents with a diagnosis of ARFID
- Support to help children with sensory feeding challenges
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2. Call us at 773-755-7793
Feeding from a Developmental Lens
Broadening the Horizon
Anxious or picky eaters may repetitively request and only eat a small assortment of foods, often prepared in a very specific way – down to the cup or plate it is served upon. Our goal is to understand the appeal of these foods and expand their food choices based on this knowledge.
How Much is Enough?
Nutrition is a primary concern for parents of picky eaters. Can a specific brand of Mac n’ Cheese, chicken nuggets, or crackers provide the nutrition they need to grow and thrive? We help calm the expectations of parents, while motivating children with new foods they may enjoy.
Celebrate with Food
Part of childhood is enjoying birthday parties, family celebrations, and social time with friends. Parents of picky eaters understand that any occasion involving food requires extra planning and an extra helping of stress. Eating therapy works to eliminate or reduce the anxieties associated with food.
Hungry for Help
Eating therapy is a collaboration between the child, parents, therapist, and doctors. Helping children eat a healthy diet, at any age or given any circumstance, is complicated. Our occupational therapists are part of the care team aimed at finding the right solution for your unique child.
Get Started Today
Our feeding program that promotes a child-led and trust-based approach. We focus on helping children and their families enjoy mealtime as the child expands their curiosity and shifts their mindset about food.