Autism: Oral Placement Therapy Vs Feeding Therapy

There are several therapies that can improve the condition of autistic kids. Here's the difference between oral placement therapy and feeding therapy.

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaUpdated at: Oct 17, 2022 16:17 IST
Autism: Oral Placement Therapy Vs Feeding Therapy

Autism is a childhood developmental disability which has no cure. However, there are many evidence based therapies and approaches that parents should know about, for positive outcomes and a hope for cure. OnlyMyHealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Isha Soni, Senior Occupational Therapist, Centre Head, Lexicon Rainbow Therapy and Child Development Centre, Pune, to know about the difference between oral placement therapy and feeding therapy for autistic kids. 

Oral Placement Therapy 

Oral Placement Therapy (OPT) is one of the many speech therapies used for improving speech clarity and feeding in individuals, using the targeted oral motor movement of specific muscles used for speech and feeding. This therapy is different from traditional therapy in its approach of using the sense of touch and sense of self-movement with visual and auditory cues. This allows the individual to feel while they hear and see.

OPT helps to improve the strength, stamina, and motor memory of the speech muscles. It also aids in speech sound production.This technique has also assisted children with feeding difficulties or food sensitivities.

autism

The therapist uses specialised oral placement therapy tools like Z-vibe, bite blocks, horn kit, different types of straws and chewy tubes to work on different skills like chewing, sipping, sucking, swallowing to control and coordinate movements useful in eating and drinking. Gradually, over a period of time it also helps to improve the amount and types of food the child is willing to eat. This is an advanced speech therapy technique and the therapist is additionally trained and certified for its implementation. 

Feeding Therapy

Feeding therapy is more than "teaching a child to eat." Therapists and specialists work closely with kids and their families to know about the source of the child’s difficulties and develop some specific therapies to make the entire process of eating easier and more enjoyable.

Also read: Expert Talks About 3 Useful Therapies For Autistic Kids

A feeding evaluation is recommended when a child has difficulty chewing foods, typically swallowing food in whole pieces or refuses to swallow certain types of food consistencies, refuses or rarely tries new foods.

During feeding therapy, through the use of specialised oral placement therapy tools like z- vibe, bite blocks, horn kit, different types of straws and chewy tubes a therapist works on different skills like chewing, sipping, sucking, swallowing to control and coordinate movements useful in eating and drinking. Gradually, over a period of time it also helps to improve the amount and types of food the child is willing to eat.

The length and frequency of a feeding therapy depends on each child’s needs. It is adjusted in a way that the child is actively participating without feeling too overwhelmed. This is an advanced speech therapy technique and the therapist is additionally trained and certified for its implementation. 

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