Feeding Strategies to Increase Sensory Organization

by Michelle A. Ortega, M.S., CCC-SLP

Michelle Ortega was our speaker for our June, 2000 meeting and is Tanner’s private Speech and Language Pathologist. If you found the above information helpful, you may also want to read Mealtime Tips, also written by Michelle.

1. Increase the tactile input of the food by mixing textures. Add sliced fruit to yogurt and applesauce. Use milk sparingly on dry cereal to maintain crunchiness. Spread peanut butter on celery, or ranch dip on raw vegetables.

2. Avoid giving large pieces of food such as bagels or a hard roll. While the texture of these foods is good for chewing, children tend to sink their teeth in and rip off pieces rather than biting or chewing. Cut bagels, sandwiches, etc., into finger width strips for easier biting and chewing.

3. Increase the taste of foods with flavorings. You may experiment with spices not commonly used by children, such as pepper, Tabasco, mint or garlic.

4. Cut meats into small cubes to stimulate rotary chewing Cut raw vegetables into french-fry shaped strips.

5. Vary the temperatures of foods presented.. Freeze peas or cut up grapes for cold snacks. Serve warm (not hot) drinks through a straw. Prepare frozen fruit drinks and ask the child to identify flavor combinations.

6. Play food identification games. Cube some raw fruits and vegetables. Have the child close his/her eyes and place a cube in his/her mouth. Ask the child to identify the food by taste. Talk about texture, temperature and taste. You can also present warm cocoa/chocolate milk through a straw and ask the child to identify the temperature.

A great link for more feeding tips:

Oral Motor Therapy Ideas
New Visions provides continuing education and therapy services to professionals and parents working with infants and children with feeding, swallowing, oral-motor, and pre-speech problems.
New Visions was established in 1985 by Suzanne Evans Morris, Ph.D. Its programs are located in the Blue Ridge foothills of Nelson County, Virginia.

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