ORAL MOTOR AND FEEDING SKILLS
Signs your child may have challenges with Oral Motor or Feeding Skills
(including, but not limited to):
Eats a limited variety or quantity of nutritious foods
Gags, coughs, chokes or vomits while eating
Overstuffs mouth or is a messy eater
Unaware of drooling or food on face
Has difficulty imitating oral/facial movements
What is it?
Oral motor skills allow a child to efficiently chew food, drink through a straw, blow a whistle and produce proper speech sounds. If a child has poor oral motor skills, then he will seek out foods that are easy to chew or dissolve without much effort (e.g. crackers, breads, processed meats, purees).
Feeding skills refer to the child’s ability to eat a wide variety of foods in order to support proper nutrition and body weight.
While poor oral motor skills can impact a child’s food choices, the sensory systems also play a significant role. For example, if a child is sensitive to smells, then he may not be able to tolerate non-preferred foods on his plate. A child who is sensitive to touch may not be able to eat a variety of textures without gagging or vomiting.
Children may develop behaviors around mealtime due to stress or sensory needs that also impact mealtime success.
At Leaps and Bounds, therapists evaluate a child who has difficulty with feeding to identify how oral motor skills, sensory perception, emotion and/or behavior is impacting the child. Feeding therapy is a complex practice and it often takes time to make changes in the child’s skills and perception of mealtime.
Our therapists receive ongoing training to continue to enhance their skills in these areas. We use knowledge and resources from many different programs which allows us to customize our approach for families. Some of the programs include:
Kay Toomey (SOS Approach to Feeding)
Talk Tools (Oral Motor Placement Therapy/ Sensory Motor)
Beckman Oral Motor assessment and intervention
Get Permission Approach-Marsha Dunn Klein