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Understanding Eating Challenges in Children

A hands on workshop bringing together the latest research and strategies to help tamariki with eating challenges.

When and where

Date and time


Napier Sailing Club 63 West Quay Napier, Hawke's Bay 4110 New Zealand

Map and directions

How to get there

Refund Policy

No Refunds

About this event

Eating challenges, food aversions and restrictive diets are becoming more common in children. Often food challenges in children have a Sensory and Oral Motor foundation to the difficulty, and require a gentle and careful approach to supporting the child and the family understand and work through these challenges.

This workshop is for you if you are supporting children who:

  • Eat less than 20 foods.
  • Often gag, choke or vomit during meals.
  • Eat only brand specific foods.
  • Prefer foods to be prepared identical ways each meal.
  • Find biting or chewing food difficult - such as raw meat or raw vegetables.
  • Often wont eat at Kindy or School.
  • Mealtimes are stressful at home.
  • Have or had difficulty transitioning onto solids.

This workshop is for health care practitioners, support workers, family members, teachers, social workers, plunket nurses and individuals who are trying to understand or assess the sensory and oral motor foundations to these eating challenges and understand evidence-based strategies to support these children and families in their home, in school, in care, or in the clinic.

Across the workshop you will learn:

  • Typical and non-typical developmental milestones for eating.
  • Understand and screen for sensory processing difficulties.
  • Understand and screen for oral motor difficulties.
  • Understand how to notice, recognise and respond to children respectfully who are scared to eat in ECE and school settings.
  • How to analyse food options for the sensory and oral motor challenge.
  • How to choose appropriate learning foods.
  • Red flags for specialist referral.
  • Children at higher risk of developing food aversions.

Please note: This will be a face to face, hands on workshop. In the event the face to face workshop needs to be cancelled due to COVID, it will switch to an on line workshop.

Many approaches commonly used have been developed outside New Zealand and do not always fit into the New Zealand health and social context. Elen Nathan, an Occupational Therapist and Sensory Integration Practitioner born and raised in New Zealand, has been adapting and creating Food Explorer Groups and Individualised Feeding Therapy programs within New Zealand, which are family friendly, resource friendly and respectful of Te Ao Maori world view. Elen is also Mum to 2 boys, one of whom was born 3 months premature and needed a specialised feeding approach to support development of his feeding skills.

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