Families who come to the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program have typically been through numerous attempts to address stressful meal times. Our program’s mission is to find the right approach for your child — and your family.
Finding the right treatment approach can seem daunting. The good news: more than 80 percent of children in our program meet their individual goals by the time they complete the program.
Our Team Approach to Treating Feeding Disorders:
Because of the complexity of feeding disorders — and the differences between each child’s needs — our team consists of a variety of pediatric specialists.
To tackle the medical, psychological, and behavioral factors that affect how — and whether — a child will eat, our team consists of the following specialists:
- Pediatricians and nurse practitioners monitor medical status during course of treatment
- Pediatric nurses provide direct care to patients, including administering medication, tube feedings, treatments, procedures, and hygiene care
- Behavioral psychologists supervise a child’s meal sessions and their behavioral feeding plans
- Occupational therapists assess and treat oral motor skills , swallowing, fine motor, sensory motor, and developmental skills
- Speech and language pathologists assess and treat a child’s oral motor deficits, swallowing problems and work on fine motor, sensory motor and developmental skills
- Pediatric nutritionists determine a safe and efficient means for each to child to meet caloric and fluid needs to support growth
- Pediatric gastroenterologists guide diagnostic tests such as upper GI endoscopy, pH probe test for acid reflux, or GI motility tests to see how contents move through the digestive system, as well as management of a percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy, or PEG tube
Initial Evaluation for Feeding Disorders:
The best way to understand whether we can help you and your child is through an initial evaluation.
During this evaluation, members of our team do the following:
- Obtain a medical history and nutritional information
- Observe you and your child during a meal
- Assess your child’s oral motor skills
- Evaluate how any physical issues (e.g., medical conditions or oral motor skill deficits) and meal time behavior (e.g., throwing tantrums to get excused from eating) work together or separately to keep your child from eating
Based on the initial evaluation, our team will decide whether your child is a candidate for one of our programs.
If so, we will recommend treatment tailored to your child’s needs. We have three treatment options, depending on the level of help your child needs.
Treatment Options for Feeding Disorders:
When appropriate, we start with less intensive therapies and progress to more intensive therapies as needed.
Each of our treatment sessions builds upon what we learned from the last session. Once we find the right approach for your child, we train families how to carry those successes into their homes and their child’s day cares or schools.
The Feeding Disorders Outpatient Program is recommended for children whose meal time behavior is routinely problematic, but their nutritional status is not as severely impaired.
The Feeding Disorders Day Program is designed for children who do not need around-the-clock medical supervision, but require more intensive therapy than can be provided on a daily outpatient basis.
The Feeding Disorders Inpatient Program provides intensive therapy for children who have severe feeding difficulties that require 24-hour nursing, medical supervision or fluid intake.