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Based on and grounded philosophically in the “normal” developmental steps, stages and skills of feeding found in typically developing children, the SOS Approach focuses on increasing a child’s comfort level by exploring and learning about the different properties of food. The program allows a child to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way, beginning with the ability to tolerate the food in the room and in front of him/her, then moving on to managing the smell of the foods, learning about how foods feel on the body and in their mouth, and then enjoying tasting and eating new foods following the Steps to Eating.

How do we begin?

A Speech-Language Pathologist trained in SOS Feeding Therapy will review your child’s feeding, sensory and developmental history and observe a typical meal. Oral motor skills are then evaluated.

What does a therapy session look like?

Sensory preparation always comes first. Once your child is well-regulated we march, skip or jump to the eating room, where we continue with sensory warm-up activities for the mouth, such as blowing bubbles or windmills.


Next is food play for younger children, or food school/food science for older children. Food is presented in a logically orchestrated approach. Therapy can take place individually or in a small group with the participation of a parent or caregiver. Parent education including mealtime strategies for home, is a key part of the program

Your child might benefit from SOS Feeding if he/she:

  • Has extremely limited food choices (less than 20 foods, with foods being dropped and not replaced)

  • Chokes or gags during meals

  • Vomits regularly or has a history of reflux

  • Refuses to eat any of the foods in a texture group or a nutrition group

  • Cannot transition to baby food by 10 months of age

  • Will not accept any solid food by 12 months of age

  • Poor weight gain or weight loss

  • Meals are a battleground

What do children learn?

  • Have positive experiences with food

  • Learn mealtime routines and cues to eating

  • Decrease resistance to touching, tasting and swallowing food

  • Increase the quantity of foods they try

  • Increase the volume of food they eat

What makes SOS different from other feeding programs?

  • It was developed in conjunction with other health professionals including psychologists, pediatricians, nutritionists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists

  • It integrates posture, sensory, motor, behavioral, emotional, medical and nutritional factors

  • It is rooted in normal development

  • Treatment incorporates systematic desensitization with a strong emphasis on sensory regulation, and avoids rewards.

  • Therapy can be implemented with one child or in a group

  • It is a family centered care program. The involvement of the family and carryover at home are essential to assessment and treatment​

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