Sensory Considerations and Strategies for Positive Mealtime Experiences

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Watch our new Mealtime Adventures video to learn more about sensory considerations and strategies to support a positive mealtime experience. 

Children’s Treatment Network, in partnership with Oak Valley Health (Child Development Programs) and York Region Early Intervention Services, is excited to share a new Mealtime Adventures video.

There are many different senses that the body receives information from that can influence a child’s feeding experience and the way they interact with food. These sensory systems include vision, touch, temperature and pain, smell, taste, hearing, internal body signals, balance and movement, and pressure. The Mealtime Adventures video looks at sensory factors that impact feeding and provides strategies that consider individual experiences, sensory needs and preferences.

This video is a resource for parents and caregivers that provides general strategies to support a child. It describes ways to introduce new foods to children following their curiosity and interest. The video coaches caregivers to pay attention to how a child is responding to different foods, so that they can increase or decrease opportunities to try foods based on the child’s responses. The strategies shared in this video focus on creating a positive long-term relationship with food, allowing children to explore new foods without pressure and at their own pace.

We hope this video allows caregivers to find easy to use strategies that may support kids and families in their day-to-day life. Check out the video on CTN’s YouTube channel by clicking the link below!

Mealtime Adventures: Sensory Considerations and Strategies for Positive Mealtime Experiences – YouTube  

Video chapters

The video consists of chapters that can be watched at the viewer’s own pace: 

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 01:13 – Different ways to interact with food
  • 03:03 – Use of reinforcers
  • 04:03 – Different sensory systems and experiences
  • 05:05 – Vision system and strategies
  • 06:42 – Touch and temperature (tactile) system and strategies
  • 09:38 – Smell (olfactory) system and strategies
  • 11:20 – Taste (gustatory) system and strategies
  • 13:40 – Hearing (auditory) system and strategies
  • 15:06 – Internal body signals (interoception) system and strategies
  • 16:34 – Balance and movement (vestibular) system and strategies
  • 17:36 – Pressure (proprioceptive) system and strategies
  • 18:30 – Explore and discover new foods
  • 22:27 – Summary  

Feeding services at CTN

Feeding services at CTN are supported by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians from different service provider organizations within CTN’s network model, who collaborate to achieve the best outcomes for clients and families. Our feeding team in York Region includes speech-language patholoigsts (SLPs) from Oak Valley Health, occupational therapists (OTs) from York Region Early Intervention Services, and a registered dietitian (RD) from Southlake Regional Health Centre. In Simcoe County, the feeding team includes SLPs, OTs and RDs from Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.  
Each member of the feeding team plays an important role in supporting families. OTs and SLPs provide assessment and consultation for a variety of areas related to feeding, including, positioning for feeding, self- feeding skills, sensory feeding concerns, and chewing and swallowing abilities. RDs provide assessment and consultation regarding a child’s nutritional intake and may support kids with specialized diets. The different members of the feeding team may provide training and consultation to others involved in the child and family team.

Additional resources

Additional resources to support feeding can be accessed through the below links: