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Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy supports children to do the activities which enable them to independently eat, sit, play, experience different sensations and to enjoy life. The occupational therapy at Kids Feeding Team is carried out by our experienced occupational therapists. Our occupational therapists take a whole-child approach to your child's feeding and daily activities to enable them to achieve their full potential.

What role does an occupational therapist play in a multidisciplinary feeding clinic service?

Eating and feeding are basic activities of daily living for a child, therefore, feeding falls within the domain of occupational therapy. The occupational therapist's role in the feeding team is to assess the child's feeding skills, motor skills, sensory skills, and strength, as well as the behaviour and environmental factors surrounding mealtimes. Following this, our occupational therapists can input a plan to ensure your child is reaching their full potential with self feeding, independence and safety.

Meet Niamh...

Niamh is our committed Specialist Paediatric Dietitian who has experience in both the NHS and private sectors. She understands the complex needs of each individual child and their family to provide patient centred care which is results-focused, evidence based and personable.

When would a child benefit from seeing the Feeding Team occupational therapist?

Any child who is having difficulty around mealtimes, in relation to positioning, sensation, movement and function of their muscles or behavioural issues is suitable to see our occupational therapists. After an initial consultation with our paediatric dietitian they decide if it is appropriate for your child to see the occupational therapist as part of a multidisciplinary team. As children grow and develop they may encounter some development problems, as a result of a diagnosed condition, environmental factors or biological influences. Children may be not meeting their developmental milestones at the right time, compared to other children their age, or be struggling with trying new foods and textures. Our multidisciplinary team of trained and experienced therapists will help alleviate some of these concerns through assessment and a personalised treatment plan.

Natalia drawing on clipboard

How does an occupational therapist help children with nutritional or eating issues?

By using a mixture of cognitive, sensory and physical approaches, aids and techniques, our occupational therapists will assess the problems that are occurring which are affecting the nutritional intake of your child, and from that a plan will be developed as part of a multidisciplinary team. The goals and outcomes of occupational therapy varies greatly according to the patients. Our occupational therapists ensure your child is able to realise their potential.

What are the common conditions occupational therapy may be involved in within our feeding clinic service?

Our occupational therapists work as part of a multidisciplinary team to alleviate behavioural and physical barriers which may be affecting your child's eating. Here are some common problems occupational therapy can assist with:

  • Coughing, gagging, choking or smelling food
  • Drooling
  • Discomfort with feeding
  • Behavioural difficulties/stress around mealtimes
  • Breastfeeding/bottle feeding and weaning difficulties
  • Requiring long periods to eat meals
  • Fussy eaters/ food aversions
  • Difficulty with drinking from an open cup or through a straw

If your child is experiencing one or more of these problems with their eating, contact us at Kids Feeding Team to see how we can help.

Our occupational therapists are commonly involved in children with some of the following conditions:

Our occupational therapists can provide a holistic approach during assessment, intervention and evaluation of an infant's or child's feeding. The occupational therapist will be accompanied by a multidisciplinary team of professionals including a dietitian, speech and language therapist and a physiotherapist.

Kairon feeding himself with straw with mum

What does a occupational therapy assessment involve?

The occupational therapist will conduct an assessment with the dietitian so you can achieve easier and more nutritional feeding routines. The occupational therapists will assess your child's readiness to eat, observe posture and positioning during feeding, motor skills, hand-eye coordination and sensory processing skills. Goals will be child centred and tailored for you and your families needs. They will be specific, measurable, achievable, rewarding and timely. The overall goal of an occupational therapist in the feeding team is to support the child to eat safely, healthily, and to enjoy the experience.


Our occupational therapists have an important role to play in the management of feeding issues in children. There are a variety of different causes of poor feeding, some of which can benefit directly from traditional occupational therapy interventions. The occupational therapist will work closely with the multidisciplinary team (dietitian, speech and language therapist, and physiotherapist) to ensure the best results for your child. If you think your child would benefit from seeing our feeding team physiotherapist please contact us.

Make a referral

To refer a child to our services this can be done online, or by calling 0161 820 8262 or emailing office@kids

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