Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Therapy

Our pediatric speech pathology team offers evaluation and treatment for newborns through young adults who have feeding or swallowing challenges.

We offer specialized evaluation and treatment with a variety of feeding and swallowing diagnoses.

Conditions we treat Woman eating

Our pediatric feeding specialists work with a variety of concerns including, but not limited to:

  • Selective/picky eaters
  • Enterally fed infants and children (ng and g-tube)
  • Challenges with growth or weight gain
  • Challenges advancing textures
  • Difficulties accepting any foods or liquids by mouth
  • Choking, gagging, coughing or vomiting when eating
  • Inability to chew and/or swallow
  • Food allergies, eosinophilic disorders, GERD or other medical diagnoses that impact eating and drinking

Skills that are taught in therapy

During feeding therapy, clinicians work with infants/children to provide them with the skills needed to make mealtimes more enjoyable. The skills taught are determined and individualized for the patient’s needs and may differ than listed below, however, the most common skills are as follows:

  • Oral motor skill development
    • Some children lack the skills necessary to eat and/or drink due to developmental delays, illness, allergies and/or a variety of other medical reasons. Clinicians will work with the patient to teach them how to coordinate and control the necessary anatomy/mechanics of eating and drinking (such as chewing, drinking, sucking and swallowing). They will also work on increasing oral strength and range of motion.
  • Food introduction
    • Infants and children may need help broadening the amount and type of foods they eat. Clinicians will work with the whole family to improve their relationship with new foods and expand the number of foods a child is willing to eat.
  • Mealtime experience
    • Some children have a negative relationship with foods and mealtimes. Clinicians will work on improving overall mealtime experiences and help create positive associations with foods. They can help develop and foster positive mealtime routines that can help repair relationships with foods and meals.

Services we provide

  • Feeding evaluations
  • Individual feeding therapy
  • Group feeding therapy
  • Telemedicine feeding therapy

Preparing for your child’s feeding therapy appointment

  • It is important that the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) be present at the initial appointment.
  • If possible, explain to your child what feeding therapy is and why they are having an evaluation. Explain to them that they can expect to play and have fun!
  • Bring two preferred food items, one new food and one preferred drink.
  • Bring preferred feeding tools/utensils/cups if they help your child at mealtimes.
  • Write down and bring any questions you may have to the appointment.
  • Bring any appropriate outside medical or school reports that you think will help us better understand your child.
  • Plan for an hour of discussion, assessment and treatment.

Our mission is to provide your child with the highest quality care and help you understand the role and benefits of feeding therapy. During your initial visit, our therapists will gather information about your child’s specific needs and concerns through discussion, evaluation and any outcome measures they deem appropriate. They will then work with you to develop a plan of care, offer education and home programming ideas and discuss any referrals that may benefit your child. Open communication among the therapist, family and medical care team is vital. We look forward to working with you!