For clinicians working with families and young children, moving away from a directive or prescribed approach in feeding intervention towards a responsive framework can improve outcomes and instill trust between the partners involved in feeding. Consideration of the child as an autonomous individual with unique congenital and experiential challenges allows us to reframe how we set goals, provide therapy, and interact with caregivers.
In this course we will explore the therapeutic relationship within the context of the STEPS+ approach. Children who are tube-dependent or have extreme feeding difficulties present with a number of challenges in treatment. Although poor sensorimotor skills play a role, the context and relationships in which eating occurs can facilitate improvement or hinder progress. Utilizing principles of responsive feeding and hunger regulation can transform intervention for these complex patients as well.