The feeding clinic is one of only a few facilities in Australia to offer intensive treatments for children with feeding disorders. Regardless of whether an individual has ASD or a related disorder, the feeding clinic provides assessment and behaviour treatment for children, young people and young adults.

 

Comprehensive feeding program

This program assists children with severe food refusal and/or food selectivity. The program is designed to support children with or without a diagnosis, as well as young people with related disorders.

 

A feeding disorder can have a huge impact on a child’s ability to function and participate fully in the home, school and other social settings which, in turn, can lead to deficits in physical, social and psychosocial development. Feeding disorders can also place huge stress on the family and limit their opportunities for social outings and engagements with friends and family.

 

Common signs and symptoms of a feeding disorder include:
– poor weight gain
– meal time tantrums, or meal times exceeding 40 minutes
– distress, anxiety and an unwillingness to try new foods
– feeding tube dependence
– bottle or formula dependence
– inability or refusal to feed oneself
– extreme pickiness (eating fewer than 12 foods).

 

Our transdisciplinary team work with your child and family to carry out an assessment and behaviour intervention program that focuses on increasing the range of foods in a child’s diet and the amount of food accepted orally (for instance, for children who are tube dependent).

 

Program duration: 8 weeks intensive, then weekly as long as required

 

Intensive feeding program

This program offers an intensive medical and behaviour intervention for children and young people with significant feeding difficulties. It includes intensive feeding sessions, sensorimotor training, psychosocial family support, parent training, and medical and nutritional monitoring.

 

This program is suitable for children who are eating more than 12 items of food but continue to present behavioural difficulties during meal time and require intensive daily therapy without 24-hour medical supervision.

 

A clinical specialist oversees the feeding process and additional clinical specialists are engaged (e.g. dietitian, psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, board certified behaviour analyst) as required.

 

Program duration: 2 weeks
Recommended age: 8 months to 21 years

 

Clinical feeding services

We work to evaluate the factors contributing to feeding problems, such as difficulty with swallowing or feeding motor function, and develop treatment plans to support the development of these skills.

 

Treatment plans often include a range of services focused on:
– occupational therapy – reducing hypersensitivity to gagging or textures while building skills related to chewing and self-feeding
– speech pathology – working with difficulties around swallowing food and drink safely, or chewing and swallowing
– psychology – using behaviour analysis or related techniques to design a structure to help children and parents during mealtimes.
– dietitian – ensuring that children receive a balanced nutrition, informing adjustments to their dietary schedule. The dietician provides services such as individual consultation, nutritional assessments, school and community outreach, and nutrition workshops.

 

These services are usually offered in conjunction with the intensive feeding program. Regular individual appointments may continue as long as required.