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Therapy Meals 101

The term 'Therapy Meals' was coined by Dr. Kay Toomey, the psychologist who developed the SOS Approach to Feeding. Therapy meals are pretty much structured food play sessions. The aim of therapy meals is different to the aim of mealtimes in that you are working on skill development, food exposure and learning about food rather than taking in food for nutrition. They are typically done separately from mealtimes for this reason.

Check out our essential supplies to makes sure that you have everything that you need for feeding therapy. Note that you may not need everything on this list. If you are unsure, ask your therapist.

How to prepare food for Therapy Meals?

Each item should be put onto a separate plate. You can put them all into a bag or have them on the counter next to you. Don't forget to add cups, drinks and plates to your bag too.

How to do Therapy Meals?

  1. If you have been provided with sensory exercises, it is always recommended to do these before therapy meals. If your child requires extra sensory input, please provide that throughout the session.

  2. Once sat at the table, blow some bubbles!! Blow them up, blow them down, blow them side to side.

  3. Take your hand towel and pull it with your arms, hands and with your teeth. Encourage your child to do the same.

  4. Next is washing hands time. You can use different soaps, sponges and water temperatures to spice things up. Once everyone has had a go at washing their hands, they can dry them using their hand towel.

  5. Now it's time for 'What's in the Bag?' Give everyone a white plate and introduce the first food. You can do this by showing your child some actions that they can do with it. Offer everyone else some of the food too. Move up and down the steps to eating according to your child's response. Repeat this with all the items in the bag.

  6. Offer the drink last.

  7. Finally, it's clean up time. You can model blowing or kissing the food as you put it into a bin. Let each person take a turn to put their food items into the bin.

  8. Don't forget to wash your hands again and give a sticker to your child.

It may not be appropriate for your child to move through all of these steps and so your therapist may have adapted the routine based on what would best suit your child. For example, if your child is very young, you may omit steps 2 and 3 and forgo the sticker. If your child does not need sensory input prior to the session, you may omit step 1. Follow the process that your therapist uses with you in the sessions.

what's in the bag; therapy meals

How are Therapy Meals going for you?

If you have any questions about or need help with your child's feeding, contact us.

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