Many children evaluated by the Feeding Team will benefit from group treatment, in the form of an intervention group. This group treatment offered at Rady Children’s is unique in our community. We currently offer intervention groups for preschool and school-aged children who are developmentally ready to separate from their caregivers, to benefit from peer-modeling and to sit at the table for 30 minutes.
Each group of five to seven children is led by a speech therapist and/or occupational therapist. This group works on increasing food interaction in a fun, safe and social setting. At the same time, a parent education/support group is facilitated by a developmental psychologist and dietitian behind a one-way mirror. This group process allows parents to share their experience with other parents in a structured, supportive environment. While observing the feeding treatment, they learn how to carry out the program at home.
During the group treatment, the dietitian also works with parents to modify their child’s oral or tube-feeding regimen (to help increase appetite and oral feedings) and identify age-appropriate foods, serving sizes and meal plans. Throughout the treatment process, which lasts 12 weeks, the child’s weight is continuously monitored.