The Talbot Centre

Welcome to the talbot centre

Feeding clinic

Multidisciplinary Feeding Supports For All Ages

We all need to nourish our bodies on a regular basis to remain well. However, for many individuals obstacles arise that hinder our ability to be well nourished and maintain a healthy relationship with food.

Feeding disorders and fussy eating
Feeding challenges may stem from:
  • Sensory regulation differences (being sensitive or under-responsive to sensations).
  • Negative experiences with food (like getting sick or choking).
  • Skills-based challenges related to chewing and swallowing.
  • Differences in interoception (not feeling hungry/full).
  • Genetic differences leading to disinterest in food.
You may benefit from support if your or your child’s feeding patterns are impacting your/their:
  • Nutritional status/physical health
  • Capacity to engage socially with your family members or peers
  • Emotional wellbeing (eating occasions create significant distress/anxiety)
  • Personal identity/self-esteem 

Our Approach

At The Talbot Centre, we understand that eating does not look the same for everybody. There are many reasons for people to eat, including to meet nutritional needs, for fun/pleasure, and for sensory stimulation. Our goal is not to direct how you “should” be eating, but rather, to assist you to get your needs met and to eat in a way that is workable for you given your sensory, oral motor, emotional and social needs and preferences.

We understand that feeding is a complex experience which requires the coordination of all of the muscles in our bodies, the integration of a variety of sensations, the management of relational dynamics between members of the household and management of our own emotions. We therefore take a dynamic, multidisciplinary approach to the management of feeding concerns.

Our Approach

Neurodiversity Affirming Feeding Services for All Ages

We take a strictly neurodiversity-affirming lens when it comes to all services provided at The Talbot Centre, including feeding assessment and intervention. We acknowledge that depending on their neurotype, people may have different preferences regarding how, where, and what they eat. 

We also acknowledge that people of different neurotypes (e.g. Autism/ADHD/ Down Syndrome) may face additional barriers when it comes to eating food. We aspire to help each individual to meet their unique support needs, offering assistance with their dietary needs in a manner that respects their preferences and autonomy without being overly prescriptive about how people should be eating.

At The Talbot Centre, we work with individuals and families to address the following concerns:
Fussy picky eating
Fussy/picky eating

We can help you if your or your child’s narrow food range is impacting your life or your health.

Rumination Disorder
Rumination Disorder

This describes regurgitation of food in the absence of a medical condition that has caused this regurgitation and in the absence of another eating disorder (like Bulimia Nervosa).

Pica
Pica

This describes a feeding concern that involves the eating of non-food items.

Paediatric Feeding Disorder
Paediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD)

This describes difficulties eating food that are linked with challenges in one or more of the following areas:

  • Medical (e.g. reflux or food allergies)
  • Nutritional (difficulties meeting requirements)
  • Feeding skills (chewing and swallowing)
  • Sensory sensitivity
  • Psychosocial (e.g. anxiety at mealtimes)

ARFID
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

This describes significant difficulty with eating food which is caused by one or more of the following:

  • Fear of getting sick/choking
  • Sensory sensitivity (such as being very sensitive to different smells or tastes)
  • Lack of interest in food (forgetting to eat or not feeling hungry)

How we can help

We take a multidisciplinary approach to the assessment and management of feeding concerns. Each discipline involved has a unique role.
Multidisciplinary Feeding Assessments

Multidisciplinary Feeding Assessments

We provide comprehensive assessments of feeding concerns that consider oral-motor skills, sensory processing, relational and environmental factors, growth history, current nutritional status, pain and medical factors, disgust, fear or trauma and general emotional wellbeing. These assessments can assist you to fully understand the factors contributing to and maintaining your or your child’s feeding difficulties and provide recommendations that assist you to get the help you need. Following a feeding assessment, you are welcome to access therapy services with our team, or alternatively we can support the implementation of our treatment plan with local services through our case co-ordination service.

Therapy

Individual and group therapy is available for children, adolescents and adults across all disciplines – speech therapy, dietetics, and psychology. Our team can provide therapy and intervention to support feeding specific health goals and to support broader health and wellbeing that may or may not be related to your feeding goals.

Case Coordination

Many of the families we work with have multiple therapeutic goals and are seeing many health practitioners all working from different perspectives towards different outcomes. We provide case coordination services that facilitate oversight of all therapy goals and guidance and support for your health care team to ensure that everyone is working effectively together towards the attainment of your big picture health and wellness goals. This service is available as a standalone option or in combination with other services.

Supervision & Case Consultation

We provide supervision and consultation services to other health professionals and teams who are interested in broadening their knowledge around feeding concerns. Regular ongoing supervision, as well as ad hoc consultation regarding specific questions or clients is available.

Education & Training

Our experienced team is available to provide bespoke training and education services for health professionals and teams to facilitate increased skills and confidence in effectively supporting consumers with feeding concerns. We also provide educational talks and professional development for other professionals who may wish to learn more about best practice feeding support such as early childhood workers, and educational programs for parents of children at varying ages to equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to support their children to be well fed and maintain a positive relationship with food.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Feeding

We take a multidisciplinary approach to the assessment and management of feeding concerns. Each discipline involved has a unique role.

Psychology

Psychologists are experts in human emotions and behaviour and can help you to understand and manage your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Our psychologists can assist you to manage fear, anxiety or trauma that may be contributing to your feeding challenges and can assist you to manage practical barriers to meeting your eating goals such as challenges related to executive functioning or emotion regulation. We can equip you to advocate for your needs in the context of your feeding challenges and help you or your child to create safety in eating contexts so you can explore foods at a pace that works for you or your child.

Dietetics

Dietitians are experts in the science of human nutrition and can assist you to meet your or your child’s nutritional needs. Our dietitians assist families to create a relaxed eating environment that supports young people to explore novel foods and can help children and adults to expand their range of accepted foods in small achievable steps. We can also assist you to meet your nutritional needs through providing you with options to supplement your diet and can offer guidance in managing co-occurring health conditions such as nutrient deficiencies and food allergies or intolerances.

Speech Therapy

Eating is a complex physical skill. Speech therapists are experts in the assessment and management of tongue, lip and mouth structures and the oral motor skills needed to eat successfully. They are particularly trained to assist you with oral-motor coordination difficulties that impact your capacity to eat such as managing chewing and swallowing concerns, as well as identifying lip and tongue ties, and other structural factors that may make eating more difficult. Our speech therapists can assist you to develop feeding skills in small, achievable steps.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists are experts in sensory processing and can assist with managing body control, balance and muscle tone, as well as navigating internal and external sensory inputs. They assess the sensory experiences, such as how textures, smells, sights and tastes might impact our relationship with food and assist individuals to develop the sensory integration required to eat well. As a result, Occupational Therapists assist in reducing the stress that can lead to difficulties with eating, and increasing the enjoyment experienced from meal-times.

Medical

Paediatricians (and child focussed GPs) are experts in the organic issues that influence child health and development. Physical health issues such as reflux, allergies, respiratory difficulties and ENT issues can influence the development of feeding competence through disrupting the natural process for skill development or by making eating an unpleasant or aversive experience. A paediatrician or GP can provide a thorough medical assessment of your child to identify and address any physical health issues that might be impacting on their feeding skills, ensuring that as they learn to develop a new relationship with food that they do not continue to have negative or aversive experiences of eating.

In the Media

Busting the myth that kids won’t starve themselves

Busting the myth that kids won’t starve themselves

There’s a high threshold for intervention for problem feeders despite often being a marker for co-morbid issues, writes Dr Amy Talbot

Meet our Feeding Team

The Talbot Centre is a contemporary health service focussed on providing integrated health care services. Our feeding team are professionals from various disciplines who work in collaboration to provide patient-centred care.