Feeding and Vision in Infancy

Marsha Dunn Klein, OTR/L, MEd, FAOTA

March 4, 2020



As infants, what do we learn about feeding through vision?


  • We learn who is our feeder
  • We learn that foods look different
  • We learn about differences in food textures
  • We learn about the pace of the meal, how fast is that food coming, and from what direction
  • We learn how a cup, fork, straw, spoon, and plate are used

We learn a lot about feeding through vision. We learn about the feeder. We learn that foods look different. We learn about the pace, or how fast is that food coming at us, and from what direction. We learn about cups, forks, straws, spoons, and utensils. We learn how other people use those utensils. We learn how enthusiastic other people are at trying new things. And, we learn what things in our environment we might want to try.

  • We learn that one food is being offered and then our feeder changes it, so we learn change is coming.
  • Vision helps us prepare for change!
  • Vision allows for previews of sensory change from a distance
  • And mealtimes change a lot!

We also learn that one food is now being offered. "The food that is being offered to us right now is baby food pears, and now my feeder just changed those pears to something green. That food that is coming at me right now is a different color, and it may look like a different texture." We learn through vision that change is coming. And, vision helps us prepare for change. Vision allows for previews of sensory change from a distance. It is our distant warning system, and mealtimes change a lot.

marsha dunn klein

Marsha Dunn Klein, OTR/L, MEd, FAOTA

Marsha Dunn Klein OTR/L, MEd, FAOTA is a pediatric occupational therapist who has spent a career specializing in pediatric feeding challenges. She received her bachelor's degree in occupational therapy from Sargent College of Boston University in 1971. She received a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on special education in 1975 from the University of Arizona. Marsha has co-authored Pre-Feeding Skills editions one and two and Mealtime Participation Guide, Homemade Blended Formula Handbook with Suzanne Evans Morris and Feeding and Nutrition for the Child with Special Needs with Tracy Delaney. She lives in Tucson, Arizona and travels to present locally, nationally and internationally on pediatric feeding issues.

Related Courses

Crumbs as a Tool in Pediatric Feeding Transitions
Presented by Marsha Dunn Klein, OTR/L, MEd, FAOTA


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Course: #3991Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'applicable to all practitioners of all skill levels'   Read Reviews
This practical course will describe the use of crumbs as a bridge to sensory and motor transitions in feeding therapy to support the clinician and family. The goal with crumbs is child success and comfort, worry reduction, and parent success.

Anxious Eaters and Anxious Mealtimes
Presented by Marsha Dunn Klein, OTR/L, MEd, FAOTA


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Course: #4452Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Wonderful information'   Read Reviews
This practical webinar will identify who are anxious eaters and outline sensitive and systematic ways to support these worried eaters and their families in mealtime peace and expanding diets. The approach is based on the responsive feeding principles of the Get Permission Approach that begins with child success and tiptoes towards change with small positive and compassionate steps.

Supporting Infants With Visual Impairment With Feeding
Presented by Marsha Dunn Klein, OTR/L, MEd, FAOTA


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Course: #4542Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'very well presented '   Read Reviews
We will discuss the developmental characteristics of children with visual impairments and specifically how these children develop trust in the feeding relationship. Strategies for breast and bottle feeding and transitions to solids and utensils will be presented in support of parent success.

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This course will review the application, physiology, and evidence behind the use of ultrasound as a therapeutic intervention. Indications, contraindications, and precautions will be examined as well as the evidence base that supports the appropriate use of ultrasound.

Please note: This course is also offered in a series of recordings titled "Series on Modalities: Thermal Therapy and Ultrasound", course 1798 which is offered for AOTA/0.4 and NBCOT/5.0.

This course is part of the “Hand and Upper Extremity Review Series.”

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