Did you know that a wide range of studies suggest that 20% of children, on average, struggle with some type of feeding or growth issue during the first 5 years of life? That’s 1 out of every 5 children!Learning to eat is a developmental milestone that many children achieve without difficulty, however, there are a wide range of issues that can make
eating a difficult and stressful experience for kids and their families. These can include developmental delays, sensory issues, oral motor skill delays, and swallowing difficulties.
You may think that speech-language pathologists (SLP’s) can only help with communication and speech but they are also trained to help with eating and swallowing!
A speech-language pathologist can complete a clinical feeding evaluation to assess your child’s eating and provide helpful recommendations and, in some cases, weekly visits to help your child learn to eat appropriately.
Discuss a referral for a clinical feeding evaluation with your child’s pediatrician if:
- Mealtimes last longer than 30 minutes and are considered stressful for the family
- You are short-order cooking for your child because they will not eat the family meal
Or if your child:
- Frequently gags on food
- Refuses to try most foods offered to him/her
- Eats a limited number of foods (e.g., only eats “carbs” like snacks, pasta, and bread)
- Requires a distraction during meals (e.g., will only eat while watching a video on an iPad)
- Refuses most or all fruits and vegetables
- Will only eat foods of a certain brand or in certain packaging (e.g., will eat name brand Cheeze-It crackers but refuses the store brand)
- Coughs or chokes while eating or drinking