Occupational Therapy (OT) Month began in 1980, and it is celebrated in April to correspond with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference and Expo. To celebrate OT Month, I had the honor of interviewing Marsha Dunn Klein, M.ED., OTR/L, who is an authority in the field of feeding and swallowing therapy and co-author of my favorite feeding therapy book: Pre-Feeding Skills.
Our one-hour interview titled ‘Using ezpz products: Bites, Crumbs, Tastes & Textures with Marsha Dunn Klein’ can be found here. Please ignore my voice cracking when I introduce her, I’m a total fan girl! It was such a fun, interactive and informative show for both parents and professionals. Below are a few of the highlights, but this is a must-see video if you want your children to trust you as a feeder and find 1) enjoyment 2) confidence and 3) internal motivation.
Feeding Techniques and ezpz products: In the interview, Marsha states that ezpz products are some of her go-to feeding tools because she loves how colorful and novel they are. She explains that they establish a safe space for children to play with food and have great food experiences without the pressure of eating. She recommends ezpz products because they are washable, reusable and they come in different shapes to inspire both parents and children.
‘Around the Bowl’ Feeding Technique: Marsha teaches parents and therapists the ‘around the bowl’ technique using the Happy Bowl. You start with a food the child is familiar with and loves on one side of the bowl. On the other side of the bowl you place a new texture, flavor or crumbs of a new food. Watch for signs of sensory permission from the child (positive and negative tilts) while you slowly introduce this new taste. Watch the video for details on this feeding technique!
Bite Size Discretion Feeding Technique: Teaching bite size discretion can help the most hesitant eater try a ‘mouse bite’ (tiny bite) of new food, while also assisting children who overstuff using ‘elephant bites’ (big bites) to choose a more appropriate size bite. Marsha shows the audience how to use the Micro Mat to demonstrate her bite size approach. She even shows her bite size handout in the video, which is a fun interactive handout that therapists use in feeding therapy.
Dips and Dippers Feeding Technique: A ‘dipper’ can be a piece of solid food (e.g., vegetables, crackers or fruit slices) or a utensil (e.g., straws or coffee stirrers) to dab into dips or tastes. Marsha explains that a dipper is an early utensil, which allows the child to practice learning how to eat. It also allows the child to practice adapting their mouth into different shapes to eventually try more challenging foods and tastes. She uses the Happy Mat and different foods to display this successful feeding technique.
Crumbling Feeding Technique: Crumbs can be tried alone, put in a puree, mixed with different crumbs, presented on the corners of the mat or presented on, under or on the side of a spoon. The opportunities are endless! Marsha expertly demonstrates her feeding strategy using the Play Mat.
Feeding Technique Workshops: In our interview, Marsha discussed the basis of her feeding methodology for children who struggle to eat, which revolves around permission and love. If you are interested in ‘The Get Permission Approach,’ you should sign up for her feeding workshops! I have taken all of these courses, and her techniques are my favorite ways to feed children. I highly recommend these workshops for parents, new feeding therapists AND experienced therapists. It will forever change your mealtime connection with children!
Tell us what feeding technique you loved most from this interview. Use the hashtags #ezpzfun #OTMonth #feedingtherapy.
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz