Feeding disorders and special needs can often go hand-in-hand. Difficulties swallowing, failing to get the right amount of nutrients, or even becoming overweight are just a few of the major challenges that special needs children can face. With the help of our highly trained daycare team, we can make sure that your child receives assistance for their feeding disorders! At PediaTrust, our staff of medical professionals works with the parents and physicians to understand your child’s needs. While they are under our care, we teach proper feeding skills to help prevent mealtime issues. Here are five ways that we can assist.
1. We Combat Weight Issues
When a child struggles with eating, whether from a physical or emotional issue, they are often unable to get the right nutrients in their diet. This can result in becoming under or overweight. Following the guidance of the parents, our workers can make sure foods are correctly prepared for the child’s temperature and texture needs. We also monitor their position, mood, and behavior as they eat to observe areas for correction or improvement. With specific therapy and treatment, this can lead to stronger muscles in the mouth, an easier time with chewing and swallowing, and overcoming some food aversions! Together, these traits can contribute to your medically fragile child achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
2. We Manage Swallowing Issues With Therapy
Oral motor skills can be directly related to problems with chewing and swallowing. Without proper development of the oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal phases of swallowing, it may be easier for children with feeding disorders to choke. Food can get stuck in the throat or the esophagus, putting them in danger or deterring them from eating altogether. This is where a specialist at our daycare for special needs can help treat feeding disorders! At PediaTrust, your child can work with experienced speech therapists. With special exercises, your child can learn how to strengthen their swallowing. This can help to reduce the risk of aspiration, calm anxieties, and improve behavioral issues.
3. We Cater to Sensory Needs
Some children experience sensory food sensitivities. This means your child may be uncomfortable with specific food textures or flavors. Some foods may be too crunchy, too salty, or soft. Due to sensitivities, children with feeding difficulties may gag, choke, or refrain from eating. Our children with feeding disorders are provided with the proper meal and snack preparation. An example could be blending food to ensure hydration and ease of swallowing for your child. Our goal is to make eating more tolerable and enjoyable for the children. Occupational therapy can also help your child adjust to new textures and flavors through interacting, smelling, and chewing with the goal of improving acceptance.
4. We Help Buffer the Anxiety of Eating
When a child avoids certain foods, it is easy to label this as “picky eating.” However, this should not be taken lightly, especially in medically fragile children. If a child has sensory sensitivities or oral motor issues, your child may also develop anxiety with eating. This can sprout from fear of choking, not wanting to eat foods they don’t like the taste or texture of, and more. When a child becomes anxious about eating, this can also lead to other physical issues, such as tiredness and irritability. With the help of our daycare workers, we can offer support for children with feeding disorders. Encouraging them and working patiently with them as they eat in addition to supplying effective occupational and speech therapy we ensure they have the tools they need to succeed.
Connect With Our Daycare for Help With Special Needs Feeding Disorders
Do you want to give your child access to exceptional care for special needs? PediaTrust is equipped to offer the highest standards of therapy at our daycare for medically fragile children with or without feeding disorders. We also cover a wide range of health services including medication management, respiratory care, physical therapy, special education activities, and much more. Learn more about enrolling your child at our special needs daycare by sending us a message or calling your closest location. We look forward to helping alleviate your stress and helping your child to grow to be the best they can be!