Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

October 11, 2017

Using the Sequential Oral Sensory‚Ñ¢ (SOS) Approach for feeding difficulties


Many Child and Family Development occupational therapists and speech therapists are trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory‚Ñ¢ (SOS) Approach to Feeding.

SOS is a feeding approach for children who have trouble at mealtime.  This approach was founded by a child psychologist, Kay Tommey, PhD and a speech therapist, Erin Ross, PhD, CCC-SLP.  SOS may be beneficial in many settings and populations. Parents and caregivers of children who will not eat are faced with a difficult and often puzzling challenge. Because the interplay between weight gain and a child‚Äôs experience of food can be complicated, there is rarely an easy solution when a feeding problem arises. SOS uses a transdisciplinary team approach which assess the ‚Äúwhole child‚Äù: organ systems, muscles, sensory development, oral motor, learning and behavior, cognition, nutrition and environment.  SOS focuses on increasing a child‚Äôs comfort level by exploring and learning about the different properties of food and allows a child to interact with food in a playful, non-stressful way, beginning with the ability to tolerate the food in the room and in front of him/her; then moving on to touching, kissing and eventually tasting and eating foods.  Additional information is available on

Recently, 4 C&FD therapists completed the “When Children Won’t Eat: Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders Assessment and Treatment using the SOS Approach to Feeding” course in the Charlotte area.  

  • Rebecca Case MS OTR/L: I enjoyed the holistic strategies that include attention to behavior, cognition, core strength as well as feeding, that can be applied to many of her clients
  • Meghan Davidson-Palmer, MS OTR/L: The instructors were wonderful and provided a lot of practical tools I will use in occupational therapy regularly
  • Kristin Lyman, MA CCC-SLP: I appreciate this evidence-based program that will help my clients have more success when eating. I really liked that the course taught us how to help children develop oral motor and sensory processing skills at the same time through play.
  • Kim Toomer, MOT OTR/L: I gained so much knowledge in the areas of oral motor skills and feeding assessment and treatment. I used the techniques immediately after course and also learned new behavioral strategies that can be applied to all my clients, not just those with feeding difficulties.

If your child is a very picky eater or has a highly limited diet, consider scheduling a free phone Intake with one of the 9 SOS pediatric therapists here to determine if an evaluation is recommended.