Feeding Disorder Services

What do children with feeding disorders need?

Children with feeding disorders need a planned, incremental program to build their eating skills and meal-time confidence.

Behaviour Analysis  provides a structured approach that will:

  • Improve your child’s eating behaviour;
  • Promote your child’s successful participation in a meal routine
  • Empower you and other family members to successfully support your child

What types of feeding problems can be addressed with behavioural intervention?

We help children with a variety of feeding problems, including:

  • Consumes a limited range of foods
  • Diagnosis of Avoidance/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
  • Fear of eating after a choking or vomiting incident
  • Gastrostomy (g-tube) or naso-gastric (ng-tube) dependence
  • Oral motor delay or inability to chew (failure to transition from pureed to table foods)
  • Bottle dependence
  • Dependence on oral nutritional supplements (e.g., Pediasure)
  • Vomits or gags when eating
  • Tantrums at mealtimes
  • Unable to self-feed
  • Refusal to drink fluids

Who do we treat?

The children we treat range in age from 12 months to 16 years old and possess a wide range of complex medical and developmental histories.

Where does intervention occur?

All our intervention occurs in your home and community. We come to you so that your child is in his or her most comforting environment.

What’s the first step?

Once you have engaged West Coast Feeding and Behaviour Specialists, our initial goal is to conduct a comprehensive assessment process.

We begin by gathering information about:

  • your child’s past and current eating patterns (e.g. feeding history, mealtime habits, daily meal schedule)
  • your perspective on how the feeding problems developed (e.g. illness, surgery, allergic reaction)
  • the approaches you currently use in an effort to get your child to eat

We also review reports from other allied health professionals.

Next we observe your child’s behavioural strategies during meal and snack time. Lastly, we  evaluate potential reinforcers (i.e. preferred activities, toys, foods) to be used as part of the behavioural intervention.

Guided by the information gathered from the comprehensive assessment, your West Coast Feeding team will collaborate with your family and your other health professionals to develop a behavioural feeding intervention that will guide us to reach your family’s meal-time goals.

We have the Behaviour Support Plan… what next?

Now we implement the plan.

There are four phases to implementation:

  • 1. Intensive Intervention with the feeding therapist. 
In this phase the feeding therapist, under the supervision of Dr. Binnendyk works directly with your child in a non-meal-time context.  The feeding therapist’s goal is to teach your child to consume a wide variety of foods.
  • 2. Initial Training and Support with Parents
In this phase the parents learn the techniques that the feeding therapist has been using to successfuly encourage your child to eat.  Techniques are brought into a meal-time routine.

3. Maintenance Support 

During this phase, your feeding therapist will continue to support you to increase your confidence in expanding and modifying the strategies you learned in phase 2.  Contact will occur every 2-3 weeks.
  • 4. Follow-up Support

 During follow-up, your feeding team fades contact and support to your family to once every three to six months. During this time, you are encouraged to call your Consultant or Feeding Therapist when problems re-emerge or new issues arise and you are not able to solve these problems on your own.

How do we know if the plan is working?

We use multiple methods of evaluation to assess the outcomes of the behavioural feeding intervention. These methods are designed to answer three central questions:

  • Has the plan promoted meaningful and durable behaviour change for your child?
  • Do the parents and other stakeholders use the behavioural support procedures effectively?
  • Do family members perceive plan goals, procedures, and outcomes as acceptable, effective, and feasible?

Do you work with other health professionals?

Yes. We are happy to work with other professionals to deliver the best solution for your child.

Do you provide long distance support?

We provide services to families across the province of British Columbia and beyond. Families that live outside the lower mainland have typically travelled to us for initial intervention. Our progress with each family is then monitored weekly/bi-weekly via video-based sessions. In some situations, we have travelled to families to promote the initial change in child eating behaviour and then monitored via using video-based technology upon returning to Vancouver.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our services, our qualifications, references, or related matters.

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