a Patient Success Story
We love celebrating patient success stories. However, each patient’s needs are different and progress varies. We want to share a message of hope and encourage families to seek treatment to address their child’s feeding needs. Names in this story have been changed to protect patient’s privacy.
Most of my patients are excited to see me and anxious to start speech therapy when I arrive. This is something I have worked hard at achieving. I want every patient to be excited to see me and think of our sessions as play instead of work. Their greetings range from running past me through the doors, to hugs, and hellos.
Today, I received the best greeting ever! Amy yelled, “Look Ms. Jessie!!” while lifting her shirt to show me her stomach. Her newly G-tube free stomach. While I
"6 months ago my daughter was struggling with feeding and was pretty much nonverbal. She has made so much progress over the last several months working with Jessie. Meal times are no longer a problem for her and she loves to eat. She's also talking more and has almost closed the gap with her same-age peers. I would highly recommend working with Jessie. She is wonderful!" — Lauren A
knew this was coming soon, it was still a happy surprise. While some might see a scar, I saw success and hard work. She is G-tube free and consumes all calories by mouth. This has taken her 5 years to accomplish, and I have been with her for 3.5 of those years. During those 3.5 years we have laughed, cried, celebrated, and questioned everything. And today we get to see the results of our time and effort.
Amy has struggled with food her entire life. Intravenous feeds started when she was just an infant. While on intravenous feeds, she participated in feeding therapy. But feeding therapy was minimally successful since her stomach was unable to process the food. She has frequented the hospital, gone through many procedures, and become a pro at hospital visits. After many different procedures, eventually she received a g-tube. Slowly g-tube feeds were introduced and gradually increased. It took some time to make sure that her stomach could handle the load of feeds. It has always been several steps forward and several steps back.
While she was not able to consume food, we worked on tolerating food in her presence, which eventually led to touching food with her hands, and then occasional tasting. She was initially fearful and rightfully so since when she had tried to eat previously, she would gag or vomit. This reinforced her fear and left her unwilling to keep trying. We had to find the right strategies to reduce her fear and increase her experience with food.
For Amy, we used the SOS Approach to Feeding. SOS stands for Sequential Oral Sensory. This approach is designed to increase the child’s comfort level with different foods. It uses exploration and play to create non-stressful experiences with foods. Everything is incredibly positive, and I use this approach with many children that are struggling to eat different textures.
The SOS approach has been incredible for Amy. The strategy requires consistency with both the therapist and family involved in the therapy. Everyone must work together and follow the same strategies. Amy is less likely to be fearful as she knows what to expect before, during, and after every mealtime. She is now able to tolerate the presence of any food and is always willing to touch and taste food even if it is new and unexpected. She has increased her food intake from 0 foods and only drinking water to 20 different foods and 3 different drinks at our last count.
There are still foods that are difficult for Amy to consume. Children with feeding issues related to textures usually prefer processed foods and primarily carbohydrates. These foods taste and feel the same every time. Fruits and vegetables may taste or feel different depending on how ripe they are or how they were cooked. This makes these types of foods unpredictable. The tolerance of unpredictability is what Amy and her family and I are working on now. Slowly but surely, she will be able to handle the unexpected.
Amy is willing to taste, chew, and even swallow some of the foods that she previously feared the most. She is now excited about snacks, mealtimes, and feeding therapy. She cannot wait to tell me about the newest food she ate or what food she did not like.
Feeding therapy using the SOS Approach to Feeding has helped Amy and many other children increase their ability to consume a variety of foods. We incorporate this strategy and many others into feeding therapy and tailor our feeding plans and goals to a child’s specific needs. Our therapists are experienced in handling a wide range of complex feeding needs. If you are concerned about your child’s ability to eat food, please call us for a free phone consultation. We will discuss your child’s skills and help you determine whether a feeding evaluation and feeding therapy is appropriate.
"Jessie is such a loving and caring therapist. Her passion for helping her patients and families show every visit. She is open to what works for each patient while being effective and productive. She is responsive and able to adapt to her patient's moods. Speech therapy has never been my son's favorite, and he has been to known to be a bit difficult, but it never slowed Jessie down. She was always so loving and made the sessions fun for him. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a great therapist." – Belinda