Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Program
Winthrop-University Hospital’s Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Program provides comprehensive feeding and swallowing evaluation, diagnosis and treatment program for infants, toddlers, children and adolescents.
The Program’s goal is to maximize feeding skills and improve each child's well-being through treatment, training and parental support. Treatment plans take into account the interconnection of motor, sensory, behavioral, nutritional and underlying medical conditions related to the child's feeding and swallowing problems.
Family and Caregiver Feeding Education
We consider family involvement to be a key component of our feeding program. We educate parents and caregivers on any potential safety concerns. We provide training in home exercise programs and strategies to ensure that the child’s feeding skills develop appropriately according to age, skill level, and medical requirements.
What are sensory-based feeding difficulties?
Children with sensory-based feeding difficulties frequently limit the types of food and liquid that they are willing to eat based on consistency, texture, color, shape, size, etc. Problems with sensory regulation and sensory defensiveness lead toward many undesirable mealtime behaviors.
How is feeding therapy reimbursed?
At Winthrop’s Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Program, a large number of insurance carriers are accepted. Your insurance company will allocate how many sessions are to be provided based on an in-depth evaluation report provided to them after the initial appointment.
When Should You Seek Treatment?
If your child demonstrates some of these difficulties, a consultation with a Feeding Specialist should be made:
- Eats less than 20 different foods
- Food refusal
- Extreme pickiness based on food type and/or texture
- Mealtime tantrums
- Inadequate weight gain
- Frequent bottle and/or formula changes
- Dysphagia (swallowing difficulty)
- Oral motor weakness
- Delayed feeding development
- Food or swallowing phobias
Did You Know?
- 40% of children (infants to adolescents) have feeding difficulties.
- 80% of children diagnosed with developmental disabilities will have a feeding problem.
- By 12 months, a child should be able to eat all food types and textures.
It is common for parents of children with feeding difficulties to feel guilt, inadequacy, concern and anxiety.
If left untreated, a feeding problem can lead to persistent medical, social, psychological, nutritional and academic deficits.
- If a child is hungry enough, he/she will eat. They will not starve themselves
This is true for about 94-96% of the pediatric population. For the other 4-6% of the pediatric population who have feeding problems, they will “starve” themselves.
- Eating is instinctual
Eating is a learned behavior. If children can learn to like eating, they can learn to “dislike” eating as well.
- My child is just picky, they’ll grow out of it.
Without appropriate intervention, a child can continue to limit their diet well into adulthood.