Feeding and Swallowing Services
What are feeding and swallowing services?
Not all feeding problems are the same. The new diagnosis of Pediatric Feeding Disorder in the ICD-10 highlights the medical, nutritional, skill, and psychosocial factors that underlie most feeding problems. An incredible variety of diagnoses exist within all four factors, and the relative severity of each factor varies for each child. This means that Pediatric Feeding Disorder can look very different for different children.
Some children do not eat or drink enough to gain weight and grow. Some children do not have a balanced diet because they eat only a few foods. Some toddlers and children only eat purees or drink formula. Some children cough when they swallow or have difficulties coordinating their lips, tongue and jaw to manage food and swallow safely. Many children have oral sensitivities or oral aversions. They may tantrum to avoid eating foods that they associate with fear or discomfort.
Because there are so many different types of feeding problems, you need an assessment and treatment program that is specific to your child.
Munroe-Meyer Institute can help if your child:
- Coughs or chokes during meals
- Gags or vomits while eating
- Spits out food
- Refuses to eat all or most foods
- Has lost weight or has had difficulty gaining weight
- Experiences mealtime distress or tantrums
- Relies on formula or supplement drinks (e.g., Pediasure) for calories and nutrition
- Has trouble with different texturesor has been diagnosed with sensory issues
- Refuses or is unable to chew or swallow
- Shows signs of oral motor coordination problems, such as difficulty sucking from a bottle, food or fluidfalling from their mouth, or holding food under their tongue or in their cheeks
- Eats slowly,and meals take a long time to finish
- Has trouble self-feeding
- Shows rigid food preferences or extreme picky eating
What are the evaluation and treatment options?
If your child or a child you know needs services for Pediatric Feeding Disorder, call the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI). An 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 difficulties. For example:
- Testing for Dysphagia: Our speech-language pathologists support the diagnostic and treatment process by conducting instrumental swallowing assessments, such as a modified barium swallow (MBS) study and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of the swallow (FEES). These tests determine whether a child can swallow safely and help define which types of foods and fluids your child can eat at home or work with during treatment sessions.
- Inpatient Care: 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).
- Outpatient Occupational Therapy: Our occupational therapists conduct outpatient assessment and therapy for infants and young children with feeding and swallowing issues. Occupational therapists have expertise in oral motor development and the postural, systemic and neuro-physiological factors underlying feeding problems. This allows our occupational therapy team to provide you with a clear understanding of the developmental motor and sensory issues impacting your child’s progress and support skill progression in positive, natural contexts. The feeding intervention strategies used by our occupational therapists are based largely on the work of Dr. Kay Toomey (SOS (Sequential-Oral Sensory) Feeding Solutions) and Marsha Dunn Klein (Mealtime Notions, LLC.).
- Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program: Our interdisciplinary team in the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program offers evaluation services and a comprehensive array of treatment options to meet your child’s and family’s needs. In this program, you will find intensive day treatment and outpatient clinics as well as an innovative clinic (SEEDS: Starting Early: Eating and Developmental Skills) that provides daily ABA-based early intervention between the child’s feeding treatment sessions. The Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program works with infants, children, adolescents. The team’s interdisciplinary, data-driven approach is based on applied behavior analysis but strongly informed by the expertise of our speech-language pathologist, registered dietitian, and pediatric gastroenterologist. This results in a plan created just for your child that helps them progress to age-appropriate eating.
Take the first step by contacting an intake specialist at Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) today.