Feeding Therapy

Your first step for a baby, child or adolescent with feeding or eating concerns is to contact us to schedule a free intake phone call with a feeding specialist at 303-221-7827. You do not need to complete any forms until after this consultation. However, you can choose to complete the Intake form if you would like to do that first.


 


 

How to Know if Your Child Has a Feeding Problem

Assessment/Evaluation

Assessment Process

Treatment Options

Our Infant Feeding Program

Explanation of the SOS Approach to Feeding

 SOS Approach to Feeding Workshops

Having a baby, child or adolescent who does not feed or eat well is a worrisome, frustrating, confusing and at times, medically concerning problem. We at the SOS Feeding Solutions at STAR Institute understand how hard it is to live with a child who doesn’t eat well. We specialize in assessing and treating all of the reasons why infants and children won’t eat. Our focus is on helping you as Parents teach your child to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods in order to support their best growth. 

Our Clinic Director, Dr. Kay Toomey, is recognized around the world as one of the leading experts in understanding and treating infants and children with feeding and eating difficulties.


How to Know if Your Child Has a Feeding Problem:

Many times, we as parents know that our baby, child or adolescent is struggling to eat. However, we often times hear the message that we should wait until our children are older because “all kids are picky”, and “all kids outgrow their pickiness”.  In reality, neither of these statements are true. The research shows that about 20% of all children will struggle with some type of feeding challenge at one point or another from Birth to 5/7 years of age. The research also shows that only about ½ of these children will completely “outgrow” their feeding difficulties. If you already know your infant, child or adolescent needs an assessment, click here to complete the child intake form.

If you are not sure if your infant or child needs to be seen at the SOS Feeding Solutions at STAR Institute, download one or both of the following checklists and circle the issues your child has. If you circle 3 or more Problem Feeder challenges or Red Flags on either flyer, your infant/child/adolescent may benefit from an assessment of their feeding/eating issues.

Free Downloads:    

Picky Eaters Versus Problem Feeders

Feeding Red Flags

Infant Feeding Development & Red Flags

Top 10 Myths of Mealtime in America


Assessment/Evaluation:

Figuring out why a child isn’t eating or growing well is a bit like putting together the pieces of a very complicated puzzle.  Because there are actually 7 different systems humans use when eating and feeding, we need to begin with an assessment that looks at your child as a whole person and not just their mouth or their gut or their behavior. We use a Multidisciplinary/Transdisciplinary Evaluation Team to make sure we are not missing a piece of the puzzle. Our Team is made up of a Developmental Pediatrician, a Dietitian, a Pediatric/Behavioral Psychologist, an Occupational Therapist and a Speech Pathologist. We are all committed to helping you and your child identify what is interfering with your child’s eating and how to best improve their growth and interactions with food.


Assessment Process:

Food schoolSTEP 1 = arrange for an Intake Phone Call with one of the Feeding Team members by calling the STAR Institute directly at 303-221-7827 and asking for a Feeding Intake, OR complete an Intake request form. One of the STAR staff will call you to schedule your one hour, free Intake Phone Call. 

STEP 2 = during your Intake Phone Call, you and the Feeding Team member will discuss the type of evaluation that will be best for your child and your family.

STEP 3 = you will be sent history forms, rights and release forms to complete prior to your child’s assessment day.

Feeding Assessment Options at STAR Institute

1.  A Whole Team Feeding Assessment begins with all 5 members of the Team spending two hours with you and your child, watching a meal and working with you both in our gym. This time is used to look all the physical and developmental reasons for why your child may not be feeding, eating or growing well. 

The assessment time is then followed by a three-hour Feedback session with just parents and one of our Team Members. This is an opportunity to talk about in detail, the Team’s findings and recommendations for treatment and to tailor them to you and your child’s needs.

2.  A Mini Evaluation consists of two hours of assessment time with 2 members of the evaluation team. The evaluation includes: 1 hour of face-to-face feeding and gym time, a 30-minute write up and a 30-minute discussion with parents outlining the major findings and next steps.

3.  A Baby Consultation consists of a 1-hour phone call or a one hour face-to-face feeding session with our Infant Feeding Specialist/Certified Lactation Consultant. This consultation will help to look at the possible reasons for why your baby may be struggling to feed or grow well. The Specialist and you will then decide what needs to be done next to best help your baby eat and grow better. 


Treatment Options:

Feeding TherapyFeeding Therapy at SOS Feeding Solutions at STAR Institute is referred to as coming to “Food School.” The Feeding Therapists are Food School Teachers and our job is to help infants and children learn how to eat better. But it is not just children who are in Food School. Parents in our program are an active part of every Food School Meal/Session. 

The SOS Approach to Feeding is a Play-Based program that teaches children to eat at a pace that respects their readiness to progress through learning the 32 different steps involved in the task of eating. We teach the children the skills they need in order to eat a wide variety of food types and textures using the natural, social reinforcement of playing with the food and interacting with adults.  

For infants and toddlers, the SOS Approach to Feeding also uses developmental strategies and social engagement with parents to help the baby eat and grow better.

Individual Feeding Therapy 

For Children 12 months and older: you and your child will have a Therapy Meal with your Food School teacher. Your child’s Feeding Therapist will chose and prepare foods, plates, bottles, cups, utensils etc. that will best help your child reach their eating goals. 

For Babies: you and your Therapist will feed your child together. The Therapist will help with any breast or bottle feeding concerns, as well as the introduction of spoon feeding and table foods. 

Group Feeding Therapy  

4-6 children (ages 18 months and older) have a Therapy Meal together in our kitchen while all of the parents and the Team psychologist watch from behind a one-way mirror. Parents participate directly during the beginning of the therapy session by helping guide their child through a sensory play routine. Once behind the one way mirror, Parents are taught about how to best help their child eat while observing the Feeding Therapists working with their child.


Our Infant Feeding Program:

Baby FeedingThere is NO WAITING LIST for infants under 12 months of age.  We strive to have all babies seen in less than one week from the parents’ initial contact with our clinic. 

We specialize in:

  • Premature infants
  • Medically involved infants
  • Feeding Tubes
  • Infants and Mothers struggling with breast feeding
  • Infants struggling to transition onto the bottle
  • Infants struggling to transition to solid foods

Special Price Rate for infants under 12 months of age:

  • 1 hour initial Phone Consult with Infant Feeding Specialist - $45

(If parents do an initial phone consult and then schedule a second consult in-person, the second consult is only $45.)

  • 1 hour Face-to-Face Consult where our Infant Feeding Specialist will watch a feeding and provide ideas/problem solve solutions with parents - $90

(If parents do an initial phone call and then also schedule a face-to-face consult, that $45 is applied to this first visit.)

On-going 1 hour services - $90 per hour

"Before we brought our 5 month old to STAR Institute, feedings were a struggle. We had no idea why our baby had difficulty feeding well, we just knew feeding time was stressful. From the moment we called the institute, we knew we were in good hands. The feeding specialist was knowledgeable, compassionate, and engaged us in a thorough evaluation both over the phone and in person. We gained information on the likely causes behind her problematic feedings, simple strategies to improve feeding success, and medical concerns to discuss with the pediatrician. Feeding our baby improved immediately, and has continued to improve after implementing further recommended changes. Our baby is happier and she's thriving. What's more is Mom's stress has diminished. We cannot thank STAR Institute enough, our only regret is that we didn't get help sooner." Domino - Denver, CO


Explanation of the SOS Approach to Feeding:

The SOS Approach to Feeding program used at SOS Feeding Solutions at STAR Institute is a trans-disciplinary program for assessing and treating children with feeding and weight/growth difficulties. The program uses principles and practices from multiple disciplines including psychology, pediatrics, occupational therapy, dietetics, and speech-language pathology.  The approach combines sensory, motor, oral, behavioral/learning, medical, and nutritional factors and approaches in order to fully evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems. The approach is grounded philosophically in the stages and skills of feeding/eating found in typically developing children.

The theory and methods used at SOS Feeding Solutions at STAR Institute have been developed by Dr. Kay Toomey based on over 30 years of work with children who have difficulty with feeding and eating. The program, called the SOS (Sequential-Oral-Sensory) Approach to Feeding, is taught by Dr. Toomey and her team worldwide.


 SOS Approach to Feeding Workshops

Courses are offered for professionals wanting to learn more about the SOS Approach to Feeding.