What It Is
A feeding group session is when children with similar feeding issues are grouped together in a therapy session that emphasizes peer-to-peer engagement, modeling and encouragement.
We make feeding fun and functional, while enjoying the company of some friends, rather than a time to fear. Feeding group therapy is one of the most natural ways to work on feeding skills!
What You Should Know
Feeding therapy sounds like something that would only be effective in a one-on-one setting. After all, each picky eater is unique in what they likes and dislikes.
However, research shows that group therapy can be a very effective way to help children improve their eating behaviors. The momentum and excitement from one child accomplishing a feeding goal, can quickly spark progress across the room.
Soon everyone is dunking their food in ketchup, “cheers-ing” their food, gobbling it up and having a good time while accomplishing their goals.
I often use the same base SOS approach to feeding in my group feeding classes as I do individual therapy.
This technique focuses on incremental, progressive gains by acclimating the child and all their senses to the food to overcome their aversion. For example, we start with smelling, touching, licking and before we then take a bite of the food.
I’ll also use a token board and reward system to incentivize progress, along with a big heaping portion of persistent patience and positive reinforcement.
For group, I’ll add a dash of group goal setting, a sprinkling of socialization (greetings, music, etc), and a pinch of food based activities like make your own pizza!