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Your child is fully or partly tube-fed and you hope your child will some day be able to accept and enjoy food by natural oral intake. You are looking for somebody who will support you and your child during the tube weaning process. Many different resources and approaches can be found in the internet, and it is hard to figure out which program is right for your child and who you can trust. We have collected some advice and important criteria for parents, who seek help for their tube-fed child.
1. Experience matters: Please ask any institution you consider working with, how many tube weanings are performed annually. The number should exceed 20 per year and at least 100 in total.
2. Evidence matters: Many institutions offer tube weaning programs but do not evaluate and publish their own clinical data. However, the conduct of clinical studies and their publication in peer-reviewed journals is the cornerstone of evidence-based medicine and is required to objectively compare the safety and efficacy of different weaning programs and approaches.
3. Expertise matters: Please do not let anyone or any team just „try“ to wean your child. We have found that a successful approach demands an interdisciplinary team including pediatrician, feeding therapist and psychosocial care.
4. Peer groups matter: Most children with eating difficulties benefit from the presence of other children. The interaction with other children helps them progress in their own eating and social development. Ideally the group setting in an onsite weaning program should consist of at least 5 children or more.
5. Timing counts: The recommended time for tube weaning is between 6-12 months of age of the child, but of course there can always be reasons for a later start. Should your child be older than 12 months, a weaning is still absolutely possible, it just needs a more individualized therapy.
6. Messy play with food alone will not do the job, but it might reduce tactile hypersensitivity.
7. Hunger is important, but starving alone will not do the job and reducing tube feeds unsupervised might risk harming your child.
If you are interested in our tube weaning programs, please note that:
The “NoTube Method” or the “Graz Model of Tube Weaning” has been developed about 30 years ago by NoTube’s founders Marguerite Dunitz-Scheer and Peter Scheer and their method has helped thousands of children to be weaned off their feeding tubes.
The approach has been published and presented many times in the last years and taken over by many institutions and therapists. Therefore it has become confusing to many parents to understand the difference between “NoTube” and other institutions which claim to apply the “Graz Model of Tube Weaning”. Therefore it is important to inform you that the NoTube team and their founders have not specifically authorized, trained or certified anyone except this team to apply their method within any institution or privately by calling it „the NoTube method or the Graz model“. In other words: if you would like to work with the original team, here is where you find it.
Since the start of NoTube’s out-patient and online programs, the specific child led approach of NoTube has been successfully applied on >960 tube-fed children in the past 8 years (published literature is available online).
In the world’s first “Eating School”, we offer intensive courses for approx. 100 children and their families per year to find their way to oral eating.
We are happy offer you a free evaluation if you feel that you and your child need help. In this phone call with our expert Eva Kerschischnik, you will have the chance to discuss the situation of your child individually.
More on the topic:
In one of our recent blog posts we have referred to some misconceptions on our approach. Read more: NoTube’s reputation: Myths and Facts
Marguerite Dunitz-Scheer has also released a statement, which can be found here.