2008 – When Children Won’t Eat

The SOS (Sequential, Oral , Sensory) Approach to Feeding

The SOS Approach to Feeding is a transdisciplinary program for assessing and treating children with feeding and weight or growth difficulties. It has been developed over the course of 15 years through the clinical work of Dr. Kay A. Toomey in collaboration with colleagues from several different disciplines including: pediatricians, occupational therapists, dieticians, and speech language pathologists.

This program integrates motor, sensory, oral, behaviour/ learning, medical and nutritional factors and approaches in order to comprehensively evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems. It is based on, and grounded philosophically, on the normal developmental steps, stages, and feeding skills found in typically developing children.

The treatment component of the program utilizes the typical developmental feeding steps to create a systematic desensitization hierarchy of skills and behaviours necessary for children to progress in eating various textures, and with growing at an appropriate rate. The assessment component of the program makes sure that all physical reasons for atypical feeding development are examined and treated medically. In addition, the SOS Approach to Feeding identifies any nutritional deficits and creates appropriate recommendations for each individual.


Dr. Kay A. Toomey, PhD, Andrea Monahan, B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy, and Amanda Lester, MS CCC-SLP