top of page

Feeding Clinic for Children with Food Aversions

We offer a Feeding Clinic for children with ARFID, food aversions and food phobias. Through the Clinic, we help families build more positive mealtime experiences, and help the child improve their relationship with food.

What are food aversions?

For some children mealtimes are a difficult - even distressing - experience. Children may have a sensory aversion to certain food, or have had negative early feeding experiences. This can lead to restricted food choices, fear of food, and difficult mealtimes.

 

  • Food aversions affect a child’s ability to eat, as they are being overwhelmed by the sensory aspects of certain foods. This can include the taste, texture, or smell of foods.

  • Avoidant or Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a condition when someone limits how much they eat or avoids certain foods. This might be because of negative feelings around the smell, taste or texture of certain foods. Alternatively, it could be a response to a past experience, such as choking on a food or being sick after eating a certain food. It can also be a lack of interest in food.

  • Children can also suffer with food phobias, where certain foods cause undue levels of fear or anxiety for them. 

All these conditions can cause children to refuse foods to the extent that it drastically impacts their diet and nutrition.

How does the Feeding Clinic work?

Our Speech and Language Therapist will start with an hour-long online consultation to discuss your child’s eating and drinking needs. We will discuss their early experiences with feeding, and any interventions that have already taken place to support their eating. This helps us get a full picture of your child’s broader needs and an understanding of the support they have had, currently have or are on a waiting list for.

We will then do a face-to-face mealtime assessment either at home or in your child’s education setting. The therapist will assess:

 

  • your child’s feeding skills;

  • your child’s swallow;

  • your child’s response to different textures of food and fluid.

We observe your child, assessing the specifics of their skills with eating.

 

Following these assessments the therapist will feed back their findings, and give recommendations to help your child develop a better relationship with food. We may also recommend further therapy sessions. 

What do you do to help a child with food aversion?

Following the assessment there are a number of options available. These can include in-person sessions with your child and you. We may work on messy food play and having fun with food, to break the negative cycle around food aversion. We also work on reducing both parent and child anxiety around food and eating. If your child also has difficulties communicating, we can work on those at the same time.  

One area we address is family mealtimes. We may ask families to video a mealtime and then meet digitally to discuss the mealtime strategies they could try. These strategies not only help your child – they also can reduce your anxiety around mealtimes, creating more positive mealtime behaviours.

 

We repeat these sessions on a regular basis with parents, introducing new strategies gradually.

Therapy can focus on mealtime strategies, developing knowledge and skills for those feeding the child and/or developing the feeding skills of the child. This may be offered as an online package or face to face sessions. Our therapists will discuss options with you following assessment to develop a plan focused on your child and their needs. 

What do I do with the NHS assessments I've had?

You may be seeing an NHS-funded practitioner, or on a waiting list for one. You can still see us as well! We strive to work alongside our NHS colleagues to provide you with the best support possible for your child. 

We encourage you to share any NHS assessment results with us, enabling us to be guided by medical reports. 

My child is tube-fed. Can you work with them?

Yes, we can work with children who are currently tube fed. We will always work alongside the NHS staff supporting you and your child, ensuring that together we can provide the best treatment pathway for your child.

I'm not sure my child has food aversion / ARFID. Can you still help me?

We absolutely can. Simply fill in the referral form, giving us as much detail about the feeding issues your child is facing. We will use this information to plan a treatment pathway that is right for them.

We would also recommend that you visit your GP to discuss the issues with them.

 

Please note that currently we cannot see children under the age of two.

pexels-august-de-richelieu-4259707.jpg
Referral Form
Which service are you enquiring about?
bottom of page