Eating, Drinking and Feeding

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Some children with special educational needs or disabilities to struggle with eating drinking and feeding. It’s important not to force your child to eat and drink. This will make it even harder for them. Try to make mealtimes as an enjoyable experience as you can.

Health Visiting Teams are able to offer useful general advice on breastfeeding, weaning, food refusal due to behaviour and transitioning onto solid foods. If you still have concerns, you may need a referral to a specialist service which can be made by the GP or a paediatrician for example:

  • A speech and language therapist is able to offer assessment and advice for swallowing and oral motor skills. For example, they can help if your child is having difficulties with their swallowing. They will watch them eat and drink and can often make recommendations based on this
  • An occupational therapist can advise you about aids that might help your child such as special plates, bowls, cups, adapted cutlery or non-slip mats.
  • A physiotherapist or occupational therapist can advise you on getting your child into the right physical position to eat.
  • A dietitian can help you if you're concerned that your child is underweight, nutritionally deficient in vitamins or minerals, has a diagnosed food allergy/intolerance, is significantly above a healthy weight or is fed artifically through a tube.


Paedriatic Nutrition and Dietetic Service


Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy


Speech and Language Therapists


National Autistic Society: Eating

Page last reviewed: 20/02/2024

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