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Mealtime Assessments and Plans

Mealtime Assessments

For individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) difficulties with mealtimes commonly occur, however, the degree of deficit and impact on subsequent eating and drinking, positioning and independence can be experienced differently.

Autism SA has qualified and experienced therapy staff with specialised training in the area of mealtime assessment and management of individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Mealtime trained Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists work collaboratively to assess skills and identify deficits commonly in the areas of:

  • Oral motor development/ skills
  • The phases of swallowing
  • Sensory processing influences
  • Food selectivity and volume
  • Independence skills
  • Posture and motor skills impacting on positioning
  • Environmental impacts

An individual’s diet may be extremely limited and therapy staff may refer to other disciplines including a Dietician or for further swallow studies.  An Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan may be one of the outcomes of a multidisciplinary mealtime assessment, along with other relevant recommendations which may include a recommendation of mealtime intervention and other mealtime strategies.

Mealtime Assessments at Autism SA include assessment of the above skills as well as provision of:

  • A comprehensive multidisciplinary report
  • Specific eating and drinking recommendations
  • Sensory Profile outcomes
  • Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan, as deemed appropriate
  • Recommendations and follow up of posture and appropriate equipment, as deemed appropriate
  • Strategies to increase motivation and independence skills
  • Communication and visuals support at mealtime

Autism SA is accredited and registered as a provider through:

  • National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Helping Children with Autism Package
  • Better Start; and
  • South Australian State Government Provider

Assessments may be also funded as a Fee for Service – please contact us on 1300 288 476 to discuss funding for a mealtime assessment.

Assessments may be provided within the home environment, educational settings or at the Autism SA Netley or Autism SA Elizabeth Clinics. (Different costs may apply to different settings).

If receiving current services through Autism SA, a mealtime assessment may be discussed with the Autism SA Staff Member. Alternatively, a referral may be placed with Autism SA's Senior Speech Pathologist on 8379 6976. 

Mealtime Therapy

Individual Mealtime Therapy

Following an assessment, mealtime therapy with either a Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist with relevant training in the area of mealtime intervention may be recommended.

The individual may be waitlisted until an appointment time comes available within the relevant discipline for mealtime intervention.

Mealtime Therapy Groups

Autism SA’s Mealtime Therapy Group is a transdisciplinary program for individuals with identified mealtime difficulties through a mealtime assessment. The program integrates posture, sensory, motor, behavioural/learning, social/emotional, medical and nutritional considerations to comprehensively support children with mealtime and/or growth issues.

The program has been developed utilising the Sequential-Oral-Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding, which incorporates the typical developmental steps, stages and skills of feeding to create a systematic desensitisation hierarchy of skills necessary for children to progress with tolerating and eating various textures, and work toward achieving appropriate growth.

The Mealtime Therapy Group is delivered by an Occupational Therapist and Speech Pathologist during school terms, currently out of Autism SA’s Northern Hub in Elizabeth. The program can be accessed using NDIS funds or as fee-for-service.

To express your interest in attending the Mealtime Therapy Group, please complete this form. For any general enquiries regarding the program, please contact Stephanie Leonard on 0477 700 201 or via email at mealtime@autismsa.org.au.