Helping Children with Feeding Skills

Our Brisbane North Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists are talking about feeding.

What is Feeding?

When we eat or drink, there are a number of steps that our body goes through automatically. We bite, move food with our tongue, chew with our teeth, close our lips, move food to the back of our mouth and engage our swallowing reflex.


Sometimes, children will have difficulties (for various reasons) with co-ordinating or developing all of the skills needed for feeding.


Speech Pathologists (SP) and Occupational Therapists (OT) are trained in assessing and treating feeding difficulties.


Feeding can be divided into two main categories, they are:

  • Feeding difficulties (e.g. sensory, oral-motor difficulties)
  • Swallowing disorders


SP’s are trained in identifying and treating swallowing disorders (Dysphagia). This is best done with highly trained teams (including doctors, OT’s, Physiotherapists, nurses, dieticians) in a medical setting. If your child appears to choke or cough after eating, we highly recommend seeking out medical advice from your GP or medical team. 


At Cooee Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy located in Geebung, we can offer support with feeding difficulties.


What are feeding difficulties?

  • Difficulties transitioning to different types of food (e.g. purees to solids)
  • Rejection or refusal of new foods
  • ‘Picky’ eating
  • Limited food repertoire
  • Restricted diet (e.g. sensory restrictions such as colour, shape or type of food)
  • Gagging on particular foods
  • Difficulties chewing or moving food around in the mouth
  • Lengthy or difficult mealtimes


What can SP’s and OT’s do?

Within our clinical environment at Cooee, our trained therapists can offer the following support with feeding:

  • Family strategies for mealtimes
  • sensory strategies for trying new foods
  • exploring and expanding food repertoires
  • assistance with the oral-motor components needed for biting, chewing and swallowing.


It is important to seek out trained therapists that are comfortable providing feeding intervention and information.


If you have any further questions regarding joint Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy sessions, please contact us on (07) 3265 4495 or visit our website at 


**Please note, any rapid weight loss, sudden loss of appetite, ingestion of food/water into the lungs is best seen by your GP or a medical professional in a hospital setting.**

This blog is written to provide a general overview of feeding and what our clinic can offer our families. This is not intended to be medical or individualised advice.