Any issue that impacts a child’s ability to eat/drink, causes limits in weight gain, growth and development may indicate that child has a Feeding Disorder. At Northeast Rehabilitation, we have therapists with specialized training in feeding and swallowing specific to children’s needs. Speech and occupational therapists collaborate as a team to ensure children are receiving the appropriate interventions at home, school and within the medical community.
Children exhibiting the following symptoms may benefit from a feeding disorder evaluation:
- Poor nutrition
- Refusing food or liquid
- Long feeding times
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty breast feeding
- Excessive drooling
- Less than normal weight gain or growth
- Frequent or recurring pneumonia or upper respiratory infections
- Embarrassment or isolation in social situation involving eating
- Arching or stiffening of the body during feeding
- Irritability or lack of alertness during feeding
- Difficulty accepting different textures of food (e.g. only pureed foods or crunchy cereals)
- Food/liquid coming out of the mouth or nose
- Difficulty coordinating breathing with eating and drinking
- Gurgly, hoarse, or breathy voice quality
- Coughing or gagging during meals
- Frequent spitting up or vomiting
The program’s path of care includes:
- Clinical evaluation to identify the need for further assessment and treatment: a speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist complete comprehensive discipline specific evaluations and a feeding evaluation to assess the child’s needs
- VFSS /MBSS (videofluoroscopic swallow studies/ Modified barium swallow studies): when a child presents with signs or symptoms of suspected aspiration, a (VFSS or MBSS) study is completed in radiology with a radiologist, SLP and OT. This provides the SLP with high resolution images to determine any impairment of swallow function.
- Safe feeding plan: Once the VFSS frame by frame analysis is completed, an individualized feeding plan is developed by the team to provide caregivers with diet recommendation and safe mealtime modifications.
- Follow up care may include: weekly therapy in individual or group sessions by a speech therapist and/or occupational therapist.
Northeast Rehab offers Feeding Groups
These groups are designed to assist a child with increasing oral motor skills, texture grading, toleration of new foods and development of self-feeding skills in a supportive and social network of same aged peers. These small groups of 2-4 children are led by a speech and occupational therapist.
Call Out: 25% of children are reported to present with some form of feeding disorder and this number increases to 80% in developmentally delayed children