About Holly

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Holly Tickner is a qualified paediatric Speech Pathologist who specialises in the area of baby, toddler and child feeding difficulties.  This includes problems with breastfeeding, bottle feeding, eating solids, swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) and picky or fussy eaters. 


Holly has worked in the area of feeding and eating problems for over a decade.  She has provided services to babies, toddlers and children to Perth Children's Hospital (formally Princess Margaret Hospital), King Edward Memorial Hospital, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), the Child Development Service, and has lectured on the area to other health professionals across the state and to students at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University. 


Outside of Taste Buds, Holly worked primarily at Perth Children’s Hospital (Princess Margaret Hospital) as a Senior Speech Pathologist for the Feeding Difficulties Team.  Her specialist area at the hospital has been on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and with babies or infants with complex medical conditions affecting their eating, drinking and feeding.  Holly takes special clinical interest in the areas of tube fed children and tube weaning, and Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

Holly is trained in many specialist skills and programs, including:​​

  • Sensory Oral Sequential (SOS) Approach

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (CBT-AR for ARFID) 

  • SENSE-ational Mealtimes 

  • Circle of Security


  • Hanen

  • Infant and Neonatal feeding

  • Infant mental health

  • Tube weaning 


Holly is also trained in the specialist skills of:

  • Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation of Swallow (NMES, or Vitalstim )

  • Videofluroscopy Swallow x-rays (also known as Modified Barium Swallow, or Videofluroscopic Swallow Study/VFSS)

(Please note that currently these two areas are not able to be offered in a private clinical setting due to equipment limitations)


Some particular things that Holly may be able to help you with;

  • Breastfeeding (including cluster feeding, poor latch, positioning, noisy breastfeeding)

  • Bottle feeding (including bottle refusal or bottle aversion, oral aversion)

  • Starting solids (including when to introduce, how to start solids, what foods to try first)

  • Introducing lumpy foods

  • Helping your child to learn to chew and swallow

  • Gagging and choking issues

  • Picky or fussy eaters (including extreme picky eating, food refusal, sensory issues, food anxiety)

  • Medical conditions that can affect eating and feeding such as reflux, tongue tie, food intolerances, failure to thrive, food allergies

  • Complex medical conditions that can affect eating and feeding such as nasogastric tube feeding, PEG feeding, cardiac conditions (eg cardiac surgery), prematurity, laryngomalacia, tracheostomy, respiratory conditions (eg chronic lung disease), cleft lip or palate, tube dependency

  • Developmental delays or disability such as Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Willi  Syndrome, Di George Syndrome (22q11 Deletion or VCFS), genetic syndromes

  • Mental health in infants and children related to eating and feeding issues, such as food phobias, trauma-induced feeding difficulties, Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)


In addition to all of this, Holly is a mum of two young children, both who have had gastrointestinal issues as babies and food allergies.  So she gets it.  She understands the reality of life with kids who have additional health issues, and how busy, stressful and worrying it can make life.  She also understands how delightful life can be as a parent (and that there is light at the end of the tunnel!).  She does not pretend to be the perfect parent, and doesn’t expect you to be either.