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Including Children with Oral Feeding Issues During Meals


With holidays so frequently surrounded by food and big meals, we wanted to know what parents of medically-complex kiddos with oral feeding issues do to ensure their child is still included in festivities that involve eating. We asked parents to share how to make it a positive experience for everyone.  Do you have any additional words of wisdom on including children in what is usually a food-focused event? Please share your advice in the comments.


  1. “I always have our daughter sit at the table anyway and let her play with some of the more tactile foods. Then I know that even though she won’t eat it, she can feel it and smell it.”
  2. “We allow him to sit with or even fix him a small plate at the table just to see if he will eat. You never know unless you try.”
  3. “Therapy calls for him in his high chair breakfast lunch and dinner either sucking on a hard munchable or playing in food with his hands or oral stim toys. He is npo so this is eating to him. He likes to pretend to drink too. We have instilled these food eating qualities in him recently so he understands as he grows up and hopefully once we find out what he has eventually if we do then he can kick this thing in the can!”
  4. “My little guy is always included during mealtimes. He loves that he has his own seat, plate, and spoon. He doesn’t eat, but he’s learned to lick and even take bites.”
  5. “At Thanksgiving this year, we made an extra effort to play games he likes as a family.”
  6. “My almost 3-year-old son is encouraged to sit at the table with his own plate of food in the hopes that since he is getting healthier as he develops a better relationship with eating he will try licks and bites. He is not forced to stay at the table though because he has his special meal that he needs to eat so we make solid foods more of a relaxation, play, and exploration time.”
  7. “Certain foods we allow our daughter to taste.”


Originally published: December 17, 2013