Speech, Language & Feeding Therapy

Development of Oral Feeding Skills use of evidence-based techniques to support feeding development and transition through age-appropriate food textures. Treatment focuses on providing strategies to develop skilled movement of the oral mechanism to promote safe and efficient eating, drinking, and swallowing.

Bottle Selection evaluation to determine appropriate nipple/bottle system to improve infant feeding. Individual bottle selection considers appropriate flow rate to facilitate coordination of suck-swallow-breathe in infants with feeding difficulty. Appropriate nipple selection in infancy helps support oral skills which support development of feeding skills.

Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs) protocol begins with the speech-language pathologist evaluating the child for the presence of tongue and lip ties and the impact on feeding, swallowing, and speech development. There are three forms of TOTs: buccal, labial, and lingual. Lingual TOTs is most commonly known as “tongue tie or ankyloglossia.”  The Mayo Clinic, in 2016, indicated that tongue tie can affect the way a child eats, speaks, and swallows and can interfere with breastfeeding. The treatment plan includes specific objectives and strategies for treating both pre-release and post-release to support optimal feeding.

Oral-Motor Therapy is based on the rationale that deficient oral motor control or strength may be inhibiting feeding development. Goals of an oral-motor approach include increasing the child’s awareness of the oral mechanism and its structures, reducing oral-tactile sensitivity, and increasing differentiation of oral movements to achieve successful feeding skills.

Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding (SOS) utilizes a systematic approach to address both the sensory processing and the oral motor skills necessary for a variety of food groups and textures. This approach focuses on increasing a child’s comfort level by exploring and learning about food properties. SOS teaches the child to interact with food in a playful, nonstressful way. Therapy begins by determining the child’s ability to tolerate food consistencies; then gradually build on having the child accept upgraded food tastes and consistencies. The Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding (SOS) has proven to be a successful approach to helping the child eat and enjoy new foods.

Talk Tools® developed by Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, is a tactile therapy approach incorporating a hierarchy of child-friendly tools for executing muscle-based exercises for feeding. These tools are designed to improve specific muscle groups through the use of horns, straws, bite blocks, and other oral motor instruments with the goal of improving feeding.

Oral Defensiveness and Aversion Treatment includes gradual and repeated presentation of nonpreferred oral-facial stimulation as judged appropriate for the child’s needs. New foods are gradually introduced to increase child’s tolerance and minimize aversive responses.

Positive Mealtime Behavior is an approach to promote positive mealtime experiences for the child and to help parents create satisfying mealtimes for their children. The speech-language pathologist will guide the family to implement feeding schedules, mealtime routines, and positive mealtime behaviors.