It can be very normal for young toddlers to go through a fussy stage of eating where they seem to go from eating everything to ‘living on air’. For many toddlers, this can be a very normal (and frustrating) part of development. This can happen at a stage when the sensory system is developing and also at a time when children learn to say 'no'. Fortunately for many toddlers, this phase is short-lived, however for some young children, they can become stuck in these tricky patterns of eating. Dietitians, Justine Alice and Marley will help parents navigate their way through this tricky time, helping parents to set up helpful practices, making mealtimes enjoyable and helping toddlers make friends with food.
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder also known as ARFID, is an eating disorder where people of any age avoid certain foods because of their sensory aversions to food, their lack of appetite or interest in food or a fear that something bad may happen to them, like vomiting or choking if they eat certain foods. People with ARFID avoid whole food groups making their diet nutritionally inadequate, often relying on supplements to boost their nutritional or caloric needs. Managing ARFID requires an experienced clinician. Justine and Alice use principals of evidence-based practices such as SOS therapy, CBT-AR and Responsive Feeding Therapy.
Many children with ASD have sensory processing difficulties, low muscle tone and anxiety. One or more of these issues can make feeding difficult. Often diets are restricted to such an extent that entire food groups are avoided. It is not uncommon to hear a parent say “my child only eats white food” or “my child won’t eat that anymore because the packaging has changed”. Levels of restrictiveness can vary from child to child but rarely do these selective eaters eat a balanced diet. These restricted diets can put a child at risk of nutritional deficiency, poor weight gain, excessive weight gain and in extreme cases the need for tube feeding. Rarely do these eating practices correct themselves without therapy. Justine and Alice will coach parents on how to work with their child, establish mealtime routines and using the SOS approach to eating help, children overcome sensory issues with food.
Justine, Alice and Marley see many children with ADHD, these busy children often don’t have time to eat and can really struggle to sit at the table for long enough to eat. Happy Eaters can offer parents a range of strategies to help ensure these children are able to meet their nutritional requirements.
Happy Eaters acknowledges that the management of complex feeding issues can sometimes require a team effort. Justine, Alice and Ma are willing to liaise with the child’s other therapists to implement a plan to assist in the management of these complex feeding issues.
Food School is a fun and interactive program designed to help children make friends with foods. Small groups of children attend Food School with their parents. We invite children and parents to interact with a range of foods in a fun and non-threatening way. Food School is run fortnightly over a school term. Sessions can be run for small groups of home schooled children at home as well as small groups of preschoolers.
Infant Feeding Difficulties, Food Allergies & Intolerances
Starting solids comes easily for most babies, however some babies can find eating solid foods tricky. Babies who struggle with solids may gag on food, spit food out or clamp their mouth shut and refuse to take food from a spoon. A delay in taking solids can have have an impact on a baby’s nutritional requirements with iron being one of the most important nutrients from six months of age. Justine can help ensure a baby’s nutritional needs are met whilst they are learning to eat and can help with a range of strategies to make meal times easier. Justine acknowledges that sometimes these babies need help from a speech therapist to help improve their oral motor skills. Justine is able to liaise with a speech therapist or arrange a joint appointment when necessary.
Justine is experienced in helping babies and children with food allergies and intolerances. Whilst food allergies are somewhat easier to diagnose, food intolerances can be a little trickier. Food intolerances can be to one or more foods and can present as a range of symptoms. Sometimes elimination diets are required to manage food intolerances and Justine will ensure this is carried out safely.
Remote health & Feeding Therapy Telehealth Sessions
Something good to come from the covid pandemic was our confidence to deliver telehealth sessions. We are well aware that health services are not always accessible in all locations, and sometimes it is just easier to attend a session in the comfort of your own home. We are flexible and accommodating and can easily meet your needs if you feel like a Telehealth session is the best option for you.
Feeding Therapy Via Telehealth
It can be hard to find feeding therapists so we are happy to be able to offer our sessions via Telehealth. We can work closely with parents in remote areas so support their child’s eating. Our therapists can also work with children via Telehealth exploring and learning about new foods. Book online for your Telehealth Session.