Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Gail Bass


Child, Preschool; Infant; Feeding and Eating Disorders of Childhood -- therapy; Parents -- education


Eating is a primary occupation for individuals from birth through adulthood. However, some infants and young children experience difficulty and frustration as they begin to eat and transition to foods with texture. Field, Garland, and Williams (2003) determined that up to 80% of children with developmental disabilities experienced problems with feeding. There is a need for providing education and support for the families of these children (White-Traut & Norr, 2009). Pilkington (2006) conveyed that supporting and building the parent's capacity for caring for their child resulted in enhanced outcomes for the infant or child. Current resources may not be parent-friendly or may not provide appropriate, detailed strategies that apply to a child with feeding difficulties. In order to address this issue, the goal of this scholarly project was to create a manual that occupational therapists could use to educate and support parents and caregivers.

The primary methodology used to create this product included an extensive review of the literature, including research articles, textbooks, and resources currently available to families and caregivers. The Ecological Model of Occupation primarily guided the development of the resource manual based on the relationship between person, context, and the task, and the impact that these variables have on performance.

This resource manual contains research-based educational materials that offer useful strategies that occupational therapists can use when providing interventions to promote advancement of feeding skills and assist with the progression of foods for infants and toddlers with feeding difficulties. Areas of focus include the role of the occupational therapist and the role of the parent in teaching their child to eat. Typical feeding skill development is outlined to assist parents in understanding sequential steps to feeding development. Environmental factors and positioning strategies are addressed for infants and toddlers. A variety of treatment interventions and recommendations to assist in improving feeding for infants and young children are also provided.