Occupational therapy for self-feeding is just one of the many pediatric services we provide at Therapy Care in Batavia. If your child is having trouble feeding himself or herself, we will work alongside you as the parent(s) to help your child develop this important self-care skill!
What is Self-Feeding?
Self-feeding is exactly what it sounds like: Feeding oneself. If a child is experiencing developmental delays or having trouble with many of the skills we think of as “hand-eye coordination,” occupational therapy may be needed to help them learn to self-feed.
Kids generally start self-feeding as early as 5 months, by being able to be spoon-fed some cereal by mom or dad. They should be able to hold a bottle by 6 months of age and should be handling a fork or spoon on their own (with supervision) by the time they’re 24 months of age. There are additional self-feeding milestones that you can ask your pediatrician about. Keep in mind that these milestones are all averages, and it doesn’t necessarily mean a child needs occupational therapy if they’re a little “late” developing any of these skills.
If your child is failing to meet certain self-feeding milestones, be sure to mention it to your pediatrician.
Occupational Therapy for Self-Feeding
Occupational therapy that we provide for children with self-feeding issues includes development of the following skills:
- Oral motor skills
- Fine motor skills
- Gross motor skills
- Visual skills
- Cognitive skills
- Sensory processing skills
There is no “one size fits all” process in occupational therapy. The course of treatment and development can vary widely depending on the reasons why a child is having trouble self-feeding. For example, the course of treatment might be very different if the self-feeding difficulties are caused by an eyesight problem, versus a sensory processing issue.
Common Symptoms in Kids
The most common symptoms of a self-feeding issue in a child is a lack of consistently hitting the milestone markers for their age. If they have difficulty bringing a spoon to their own mouth without help at 12 months, it’s no cause to be upset. If they still can’t manage a spoon by the time they’re 15 to 18 months of age, it’s time to talk to your pediatrician.
We want to stress that if your child is having trouble meeting the self-feeding markers, it’s not a cause for alarm. But it is an issue that you should take seriously by bringing it up to your pediatrician. The earlier you intervene in a problem with motor skills development, the better the outcome will likely be.
Ready to Get Started
Every child is different, so the course of occupational therapy that we work on with you and your child will vary based on any pediatric diagnosis and your child’s developmental skills. Your participation as a parent will be a vital part of the process as we work together to build up your child’s self-feeding skills!
Call our Batavia office today at Therapy Care to schedule a pediatric consultation.