Feeding Therapy

Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) vs Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

The Sequential Oral Sensory feeding approach, commonly known as the Toomey method, is a non-invasive developmental approach to feeding. It focuses on increasing a child’s comfort level exploring and learning about the different properties of foods, including texture, smell, taste and consistency. The SOS approach allows a child to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way. The SOS approach follows a hierarchy to feeding, beginning with the basic ability to tolerate food in the room, in front of him/her, touching and eventually tasting and eating foods.Parent education and involvement is an important part of this feeding approach. A therapist works directly with the parents while they are watching each feeding session to learn this approach to feeding. Parents learn to identify physical signs and “body language” to identify when the child is over stimulated and to assist with setting up the home program. The SOS approach teaches the child to accept food willingly. This approach is usually led by an occupational therapist or speech language pathologist.

The Applied Behavior Analysis methodology is the application of basic behavioral practices (positive reinforcement, teaching in small steps, prompting, and repeated practice) to facilitate the development of language, social interactions, and independent living skills. It can also help reduce both everyday social problems and serious behavior disorders. The principles of applied behavior analysis can be used to teach a variety of skills and positive behaviors, including functional living skills, language, reading, social skills, positive peer interactions, academic engagement, and independent play skills. ABA methodology is also effective in decreasing challenging behaviors such as noncompliance, tantrums, bed-wetting, feeding problems, aggression, and self-injury. What most attracts parents to an ABA program are its positive and reinforcing tone, its strong focus on teaching new skills, the documentation of progress in reports and charts, its foundation in research, and the manner in which it is individualized for every child. The ABA approach uses a system of reinforcers and a reward system. This approach is typically led by a psychologist who is board certified in behavior analysis.