FEEDING THERAPY: Sometimes clients may require feeding therapy because they are not eating enough quantity or variety to support their healthy emotional, physical, or social development. Additionally, a client may exhibit eating patterns that are a significant source of conflict or worry for their caregivers. Therapist Neurodiversity Collective members do not use ABA practices or employ any type of forced-feeding, physical restraint, and physical manipulation of the client’s body. We do not withhold foods and drink as a way to manipulate behavior.
Most ABA professionals are dangerously unqualified to provide feeding therapy. Disrespectful and cruel feeding therapy approaches include “escape extinction (where the child is unable to “escape” eating and behaviors such as crying, vomiting, gagging are targets for extinction), and continuous reinforcement (reinforcement such as access to watching a video is delivered after every single target behavior), children are not given the power to say ‘no’ and the adult agenda overwhelms the child’s need for autonomy and self-protection, with the trust and relationship with the adult being damaged as well.” (1)
Graduate-Level courses that qualified Feeding Therapists should have completed include Dysphagia, Anatomy and Physiology of Oral Mechanisms, Pediatric Feeding, and Pediatric Dysphagia. A qualified Feeding Therapist should have a mastery understanding of “the oral motor skills needed to manipulate different foods, that particular child’s skills and medical history, the way that the sensory system contributes to safe swallowing, the science of food consistency and texture, and the dynamic feeding relationship between a caregiver and a child and a child’s trust in their own body. ” (2)
The Therapist Neurodiversity Collective recommends the following Feeding Approaches (as provided by qualified SLPs and OTs who meet the above criteria):
For Further Reading:
The Nuance Between a Responsive &. Behavioral Approach to Feeding Therapy: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Professionals & Feeding Intervention
Reference and direct quotes from (1) and (2) above.
Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating, New Harbinger Publications, 2015
Conquer Picky Eating for Teens and Adults, Amazon, 2018