Our Feeding Program is designed to help children who have medical conditions that have affected their feeding and growth. Treatment is geared to help children overcome these feeding issues and establish proper feeding and nutritional habits so that additional health problems can be avoided.
An interdisciplinary team of specialists works with each child and family to address the multiple factors involved with eating. The program takes a supportive, comprehensive approach that not only incorporates a child's medical and developmental needs, but addresses behavioral and oral-motor feeding issues as well as family education and training.
We serve children from birth to age 21 with feeding issues including:
- Food/drink refusal
- Inability to chew and/or swallow
- Recurrent gagging or vomiting
- Food or swallowing phobias
- Food selectivity (by type or texture)
- Mealtime behavior problems (tantrums, lengthy meals)
- Failure to thrive (unable to gain proper weight for age)
- Tube-dependency (nasogastric or gastrostomy tubes)
The medical diagnoses and underlying conditions which can lead to feeding issues include, but are not limited to: autism, cerebral palsy, craniofacial anomalies, cystic fibrosis, dysphagia, failure to thrive, food allergies, gastroesophageal motility disorders, gastrointestinal pain,
gastroesophageal reflux, genetic syndromes, reactive airway disease, metabolic disorders, oral-motor dysfunction, prematurity and short bowel syndrome.
Feeding treatment programs
The initial feeding clinic appointment includes medical and nutritional services. If it is determined that feeding therapy is needed, we will schedule follow-up appointments with a feeding therapist and behavioral psychologist. There are two copays for the initial visit.
For mild to moderate feeding problems, children may be recommended for the outpatient program which usually involves weekly visits for feeding therapy with a feeding therapist and psychologist, follow-up visits in the feeding clinic, and additional appointments as needed for services like nutrition.
Our day patient program is for children with moderate to severe feeding problems who are medically stable. This program involves approximately three hours of therapy each day, Monday-Friday, for six to eight weeks. We assemble an interdisciplinary care team to address each child's specific needs. The team includes behavioral psychologists, doctors, dietitians, feeding therapists (specially trained occupational therapists and speech/language pathologists), nurse practitioners and a social worker. Recreation therapy is also consulted as needed.
Treatment can only be successful if the benefits transition to a child's daily life, so family is a crucial part of treatment and an important part of the care team. Training/education for parents begins once an effective treatment has been established. Other caregivers, such as teachers and relatives, also receive training, which often occurs in the child's daily living settings. Aftercare, consisting of outpatient therapy and follow-up visits, provides further support and ensures strides made during treatment are maintained.
Virtual tour: Feeding therapy
Appointments and location
Preparing for Your First Visit
The following documents and forms will be sent to new patient families to complete/review prior to their first visit:
The medical staff of the Feeding Program comprises a pediatric physician, pediatric nurse practitioner and nurses. The team also includes licensed clinical psychologists, registered dietitians, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, feeding technicians, and scheduling coordinators.