Feeding Therapy for Picky Eaters

Feeding Therapy at Symbiosis Pediatric Therapy uses an intervention program (The SOS Approach) to Feeding. The program uses the typical developmental steps of feeding to create a systematic hierarchy of skills and/or behaviors necessary for children to progress with eating a variety of tastes and textures and achieving appropriate growth.

The SOS Approach to Feeding is the primary treatment approach used and is appropriate for children who have a significantly restricted diet. SOS approach works to increase the range of foods that a child will eat. This program includes significant parent involvement and education component to ensure home carryover.

What does the feeding therapy session look like?

Depending upon the specific needs of the child, feeding sessions is usually lead by our Senior Occupational Therapist. Feeding therapy is provided both individually and in group settings.

Every feeding session may begin with providing the child with organizing sensory input to prepare and regulate the body. This typically involves a structured activity in our state-of-the-art sensory gym space.

Therapist, child, and caregiver transition to one of our treatment spaces. We follow a structured routine including washing hands, blowing bubbles, wiping down, and setting the table. Each person present in the session is involved in this process.

The SOS Approach to Feeding emphasizes the importance of learning the routine and structure, to promote regulation and familiarity when exploring foods. A hierarchy of foods are then presented one at a time on every individual’s plate. The hierarchy is made up of foods that are preferred and non-preferred by the child, but present with physical and sensory similarities (e.g. similar in color, texture, size, shape, etc.).

Foods are explored through the sensory systems (e.g. sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste) and a play-based approach. The session is concluded when the child, therapist, and caregiver all participate in the cleanup.

Caregiver education is a valuable part of feeding therapy. Encouraging the caregiver to be present during the session can serve as a valuable tool for learning how to use the SOS Approach to Feeding at home with their child. Tips, strategies, and skills are provided during each session to support increasing the child’s food repertoire at home and school environments.

Our Occupational Therapists will always be happy to chat about how we can help your child.

Shalini Das

Director, Board Certified Behavior Analyst,Occupational Therapist

Shalini is one of the co-founders of Symbiosis Pediatric Therapy. She currently oversees the clinical and administrative departments of Symbiosis. Shalini has more than 25 years of experience working with children with autism and developmental disabilities.

Shalini completed her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy specializing in Pediatric Neurology in 2000. She also has her Masters degree in Special Education with a focus on Applied Behavior Analysis from The Pennsylvania State University.Shalini is listed in the RASP list as a Behavior Consultant and an Occupational Therapist.

Shalini has extensive clinical experience with assessment and program development that is designed to treat challenging behaviors, build communication, and functional life skills. Some of the team-based intervention which she incorporates are the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), SCERTS, DIR®/Floor time model, etc.

Shalini has trained & supervised several teams of therapists, parents, and other professionals on evidence-based behavioral strategies to improve the quality of life for the children. She also assists with the development and implementation of evidence-based treatment approaches, in addition to providing clinical guidance and mentorship to the Behavioral intervention team.

Shalini is certified to administer the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) from the University of Southern California and in Neuro-Developmental Therapy (NDT) from NDT Association, USA. She also enjoys working with children in Symbiosis embracing different therapy models while viewing the challenges faced by the children through the developmental framework.

Shalini is the mother of two children and understands the importance of considering the needs and wants of all members of the family when establishing therapy goals. She spends her spare time with her children and husband, reading, traveling, and cooking different recipes from around the world.