Difficulties eating, drinking and feeding

If a child refuses food or has difficulty with eating, it can often leave parents feeling very anxious, helpless and frustrated. This is especially so for disabled children.

A disabled child can have difficulty feeding for several reasons, such as:

  • > finding it difficult to chew, swallow or digest certain food
  • > having limited mobility, making it more difficult to feed themselves on their own
  • > having a learning disability, making it more difficult for them to learn, or understand appropriate behaviour when eating and at mealtimes

> be reluctant to eat, or only eat a few types of food

> be prevented from feeding/sucking as babies, because of medical problems and then find it harder to develop these skills later on

If your child is having problems eating it is important you seek help from your GP or health visitor who can check for possible medical causes as well as provide advice on how to deal with the problem.

They may refer you to more specialist services 

In Hounslow, there are two key NHS services that can offer advice - the Dietitians Service and the Speech and Language Therapy Service.

Find out more about these services below.

The Speech and Language Therapy Service support children who have eating and drinking (swallowing) difficulties, as well as children with speech, language and communication difficulties. You can contact them directly:  020 8973 3480

The Dietitians Service assess your needs and work with you to help you manage your diet and nutrition – including those who are fed by a tube, under weight due to an illness or disease, or need dietary advice for a diagnosed condition.  To be referred for the dietitians service you will need a referral form a health professional - such as a GP or health visitor.

If your child needs nursing/medical support for feeding, they can get support from: