Feeding difficulties can take many forms in children on the autism spectrum. Feeding issues include aversion to feeding, difficulty shifting to age-appropriate foods, restrictively eating foods of particular texture, or type, problematic mealtime behaviors, and gagging. Such behaviors can lead to nutritional and medical problems.
Therapies can take the form of intensive day therapy programs, outpatient programs or group therapy. The type of intervention needed depends on the severity of the feeding difficulty and the needs of the child.
Treatment of feeding disorders can involve a team approach consisting of medical doctors, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and/or psychologists, or an individual occupational or speech therapist that is trained to work with feeding disorders. It is important to specify feeding concerns so the therapists can determine if they will be able to provide appropriate therapy.2
Questions To Ask Your Provider:
- What certifications and qualifications do you have?
- What experience do you have working with individuals on the autism spectrum?
- Do you have a list of references I can contact?
- How do you diagnose or determine that feeding therapy will be beneficial to my child?
- What methods do you use? Ask for a description of the therapy.
- How often are the sessions and how long do they last?
- How much do the sessions cost?
- How will I use this program at home?
- Who will be involved in the therapy process? Will there be a team approach or will it be an individual therapist?
- Will the therapy be done individually or in a group?
- Describe a typical session.
- Will I be present during the therapy? Will I be able to observe?
- How long will my child require feeding therapy?
- How is progressed tracked? Will we receive written updates or reports?
- What if I want to stop this therapy? Are there any contracts?