What are feeding and swallowing services?
Not all feeding problems are the same. Some children do not eat or drink enough to gain weight and grow. Some children do not have a healthy or balanced diet because they eat only a few foods. Other children have behavior problems that cause the meal to be stressful for the family. Some children do not chew or swallow. Some children cough when they swallow or have difficulties coordinating their lips, tongue and jaw movements to manage food and swallow safely. Many children have oral sensitivities, oral aversions, and/or medical problems that contribute to their feeding problem.
How do I know if my child needs help?
Because there are so many different types of feeding problems, you need an assessment and treatment program that is specific to your child.
We can help if your child:
- Depends on tube or intravenous feedings.
- Coughs or chokes while eating and drinking.
- Won’t or can’t eat food or drink liquids.
- Is having difficulty giving up the bottle.
- Is having difficulty eating or won’t eat foods with more texture.
- Has sensory aversions or sensitivities.
- Has rigid food preferences.
- Has oral coordination problems.
- Often vomits during or after meals.
What are the evaluation and treatment options?
If your child or a child you know needs services for feeding or swallowing, call the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) intake specialist. Our intake specialist will ask you some questions to help you find the services that are best for the child and help you schedule an evaluation for the appropriate service. MMI offers a variety of services to address the many different needs of children with feeding and swallowing disorders. For example:
- Our speech-language pathologists support the diagnostic and intervention process through expertise in conducting instrumental swallowing assessments, such as a modified barium swallow (MBS) study and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of the swallow (FEES), to evaluate whether a child can swallow safely and to help define foods that can support intake and further development of skills.
- Our speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists provide inpatient feeding and swallowing services in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and outpatient assessment and therapy for infants and young children with medical, developmental and/or motor issues impacting feeding and swallowing. Our therapeutic priority is to provide caregivers with a clear understanding of the developmental motor and sensory issues impacting progress and support skill progression in positive, natural contexts.
- Our Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program offers evaluation, day-treatment, outpatient and early intervention (SEEDS: Starting Early: Eating and Developmental Skills) programs for infants, children, and adolescents. Our databased and scientifically supported approach ensures children eat and drink nutritionally and calorically appropriate foods and drinks and progress the child to age-appropriate feeding.