What is the Get Permission Approach?

Marsha Dunn Klein describes her lifetime’s approach to working with children and families as the Get Permission Approach. It is based on the belief that feeding is a relationship between parent and child that is built on trust, communication and a sensitive responsiveness. She believes that, when all goes well, children want to eat so when they do not eat, cannot eat, will not eat or are not eating enough to grow, it is our grown-up responsibility to figure out why. When adults offer and children open their mouths, lean into the food, reach for the food, or actively feed themselves, we call it a positive tilt. Adults and parents move toward each other, either physically or emotionally. But when children actively and vehemently turn away, cry, push the food away, gag, or vomit we call that a negative tilt and we MUST change something in our offer.


Why Grasshoppers?

How did Marsha become ‘That Grasshopper Therapist’?


It recognizes a child’s concerns about food and feeding and parent concerns about feeding and mealtimes. We observe the child’s cues and adjust our ask so that feeding and trying new foods can proceed at a pace that is comfortable to the child. The adults offers but the child determines the pace. The ultimate goal is mealtimes peace, enjoyment and celebration of food! (more…)

Get Permission is an approach, a way of thinking about feeding, and a collection of practical strategies to support infants and children who have eating challenges. The Get Permission Approach uses proven learning and developmental principles, and foundations of responsive feeding, cue-based feeding, sensory processing and systematic de-sensitization to carefully grade our asks of children so our adult request of them do not push directly INTO their worry.

We want to optimize that positive tilt. We want children to enjoy eating, to enjoy the sensory aspects, the look, sound, smell, taste and texture of the meal. We want them to have confidence in their eating skills and have the motor eating skills to safely and confidently eat the food offered. And, we want to create support that helps each child develop the internal motivation to eat. We want to be careful that our asks of children are appropriate from safety, developmental, sensory, motor, emotional and independence perspectives as we help the tiptoe towards success. Parents are partners in the Get Permission Approach. It is not about therapists and other team members “getting your child to eat”, it is about parents being and feeling successful and empowered! Team work all around!

10 Principles

of the Get Permission Approach

Principle #1
Feeding is complicated and requires collaboration with team members including parents.

Principle #2
The Get Permission Approach acknowledges that children eat best when they feel well.

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How can grasshoppers help parents and feeding professionals teach anxious eaters about new foods?

Marsha Dunn Klein, an internationally-known feeding therapist, provides the answer in this book, highlighting that most anxious eaters do not enjoy the sensations and variability of new foods. In seeking to help them, she asks what you’d need to do to help yourself try a worrisome new food, such as a grasshopper.