Mealtime Management & Feeding Support
Children with developmental delays, intellectual disabilities and/or Autism may have difficulties with eating and drinking for a variety of reasons.
In some instances the child has medical or health problems that result in difficulties with sucking, chewing or swallowing. Other children struggle to accept certain foods and may be sensitive to foods of particular colour, texture, type of food or new foods. Some children who are delayed in their development will also be delayed in developing feeding skills and will need additional support to develop these skills.
Feeding problems can affect the child's health, development or social interaction, and have implications for family life and participation of the child at child care or school. Close supervision may be needed to ensure the safety of the child at mealtimes. Some children with difficulties in chewing and swallowing will require an assessment by a feeding specialist.
Child and Youth Services has a team of experienced therapists, who can provide support to children with feeding issues. Therapists are able to provide:
- A comprehensive assessment of feeding issues.
- Development of an individualised mealtime plan for the child and family.
- A multidisciplinary approach to support the child to develop feeding skills.
- Development of Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plans for children attending child care, preschool, school or other community settings, to ensure staff support the child safely during mealtimes.
- Parent educational sessions and workshops on mealtime issues.
Specialist Consultancy Service – the Eating and Drinking Program
Child and Youth Services offers specialist support for complex feeding issues, through the Eating and Drinking Program. A highly experienced Speech Pathology Consultant is available and able to offer:
- Individual consultancy and therapy for children with complex feeding difficulties and their families.
- Assessment and referral reports for children requiring additional specialist medical assessments such as swallow studies or gastroenterology.
- Consultation with hospitals for families attending specialist medical clinics.
- Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plans.
- Training and consultancy for therapists and staff in education and care settings.