Behavioral Feeding Therapy
Many children with and without disabilities have picky eating habits. Parents know that food refusal and selectivity can impact children’s health and growth, making mealtimes stressful for children and their families. For some children, challenging behavior during mealtimes, such as food refusal, tantrums, and even gagging and vomiting, can result in even more stressful meals.
Behavioral Feeding Therapy utilizes evidence-based strategies to improve children’s eating and mealtime behavior. Instructional techniques are founded in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and data collection enables us to monitor progress and demonstrate improvement in feeding and mealtime behaviors. Families are considered central to the treatment team. When applicable, collaboration between home, school and other therapy environments is encouraged.
How Do I Know If It May Be Time to Seek Out Behavioral Feeding Therapy for My Child?
- Do mealtimes cause stress or anxiety for the child or family members?
- Does your child eat fewer than 30 different foods or foods from a limited number of food “groups”?
- Does your child eat only processed foods, such as pretzels, chips, and crackers?
- Does your child limit foods by brands or color or only eat foods of certain textures?
- Does your child engage in challenging behavior at mealtimes or when new or non-preferred foods are presented?
- Does your child drink large quantities of milk or juice throughout the day?
- Does your child frequently engage in food refusal?
- Is your child’s diet limited to textures that are developmentally inappropriate?
- Do you have to distract your child with a video to get him or her to eat?
Setting of Therapy
Behavioral feeding therapy is provided in settings your child experiences feeding difficulties. Therapy is provided in your home, at your child's school or daycare center, or at restaurants where your family likes to eat. Therapy is implemented directly by Jill Saxon, BCBA-D, in partnership with the child’s caregivers.
Assessment and Treatment
When you call Functional Behavior Solutions, you will speak to Jill Saxon, BCBA-D. Dr. Saxon will guide you through the intake process and help you make sure that behavioral feeding therapy is right for your child and your family. Dr. Saxon will then schedule an initial assessment appointment with you and any additional primary caregivers where you will share your concerns and your goals for your child's feeding. You will be asked to complete a feeding intake form that includes a record of what your child eats for up to a week. Dr. Saxon will then visit the home or primary feeding setting to observe the child during a meal and will complete the feeding assessment. Once relevant medical team members have been consulted, Dr. Saxon will work with you to develop an intervention plan that is appropriate, feasible, and comfortable for your family. She will provide direct services to the child and any necessary training of caregivers to ensure that the intervention plan can be implemented smoothly. Throughout the treatment, Dr. Saxon regularly visits the home or other setting, monitors data to ensure progress, and is consistently available to caregivers throughout treatment.