What is SOS Feeding Therapy?

Every child reaches developmental milestones at a different pace. For children who experience delays in early childhood development, pediatricians may recommend that the parents seek a therapeutic program for their child. Depending on their unique abilities and needs, they may begin applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language pathology. If a child has not reached the age of kindergarten, a therapeutic preschool program may also be recommended.

What is a therapeutic preschool program?
While the curriculum of a typical preschool program is designed with children who follow a typical development path in mind, a therapeutic preschool program offers support in pivotal development skills for children who may experience delays. Some of the areas these programs will emphasize include behavior, cognitive skills, feeding, speech and language, motor skills, play skills, social skills, and more.

If a child requires assistance through feeding therapy, a therapeutic preschool program may be able to provide these services throughout the day. Children who can benefit from feeding therapy will often exhibit symptoms, such as gagging during snack or meals or avoiding all foods with a particular texture. A child who is not gaining weight at the appropriate rate may also be a good fit for feeding therapy. One of the popular methods of feeding therapy is the SOS Approach.

What is the SOS Approach to feeding therapy?
The SOS Approach stands for “Sequential Oral Sensory.” This is an interdisciplinary approach to feeding therapy, meaning that different modalities are incorporated into the technique. SOS is widely used because this approach focuses on the “whole child,” rather than just one aspect of eating. For example, a therapist who is working with a child on feeding may also examine the function of their behavior or how the eating habits of the child are impacted by different environments. The therapist will also consider the physical aspects of feeding, such as their muscle development and their organs. They may also examine the sensory component of feeding and work with the child to improve their sensory integration.

Who can provide SOS?
Individuals who wish to become SOS providers can become either “trained” or “certified” in the SOS Approach to feeding therapy. Either options require extensive training, including conferences or courses. Click here if you are interested in learning more about the process for earning status as an SOS provider. Professionals who specialize in feeding therapy may also incorporate aspects of the SOS Approach, even if they are not fully trained or certified.

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"After almost 2 years our son’s time at CST Academy has come to an end. The preschool program has done wonders for him. Ms Jaclyn is such a warm, kind and patient teacher. She and my son’s OT (Ms. Nikki) and ST (Ms. Erika) worked together to ensure he was meeting all of his goals. The level of collaboration between all therapies shows how dedicated they are to helping your child reach their full potential. They have all made such an impact on him, it’s amazing to see the changes since he started there. He has blossomed into a strong, confident boy who is more than prepared to start his new school in a few weeks. We will always fondly remember our time at CST Academy. Can’t recommend them enough!"
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