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Feeding Therapy

What is Feeding Therapy?

Feeding therapy with an Oklahoma family.

Behavior feeding therapy is based on the principles and procedures of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to treat feeding refusal that is not due to an underlying medical disorder or underlying disorder of feeding such as oral motor deficits.

Behavior feeding therapy is a treatment for children who demonstrate feeding refusal solely due to behavior. Behavior feeding therapy is an outpatient therapy that requires consistent caregiver participation and daily homework outside of the session.


Feeding Therapy can be helpful for children for a variety of issues, including:

  • Improving sensory tolerance to various food textures

  • Reducing avoidance behaviors during mealtimes

  • Developing chewing skills

  • Increasing variety and volume of nutritional intake to include all food groups and textures

  • Teaching self-feeding skills including drinking from a cup and using utensils

Deciding if Feeding Therapy is a Good Fit for your Family

Seeking feeding therapy services for your child is a major decision. Families who participate in feeding therapy often report the following challenges for their child during initial sessions:

  • Difficulty weaning from a bottle to solid foods

  • Refusing to eat and engaging in avoidance behaviors (e.g., throwing food, screaming, refusing to sit at the table)

  • Eating less than 20 foods consistently

  • Not eating a variety of foods from all food groups

  • Avoiding entire food groups

  • Growth difficulties

  • Eating certain textures of food (e.g., purees, crunchy solids)

  • Challenges with eating or drinking as would be expected for his/her age (e.g. inability to drink from a cup, not using utensils)

  • Difficulty transitioning from tube to oral feeding

  • Coughing or choking while eating or shortly after eating

  • Not eating an adequate volume within a reasonable timeframe

Mother and child participating in feeding therapy with their psychologist.

Related Articles & Resources

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