Feeding & Swallowing

Father Feeding Son

Feeding can be rewarding and yet a very frustrating event for families when a child is not eating well.

Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD) includes medical, nutritional, oral intake skills (removing food from a spoon, closing the lips around a straw, maintaining a closed mouth while swallowing) and psychosocial dysfunction. Food refusal of age-appropriate foods, restrictive varieties of food, liquids and limited skills for utensils are frequently seen with those having a feeding disorder. Sensory defensiveness to texture, temperature, smell, appearance can all play a significant role in food acceptance. Children who have congenital conditions or those who have had several surgeries for their medical diagnoses may not want anything in the oral area and therefore reject food.

Swallowing Disorder is the dysfunction of any one of the four phases of food intake to the stomach. We typically provide treatment for the first phase, the Oral Preparatory Phase, during which food is prepared for transition to the throat area. Liquid and food are managed in the mouth by chewing and sucking to allow safe swallowing. If your child is gagging or choking during meals first see your pediatrician and/or have a swallow study completed to determine specific areas of difficulty during swallowing.

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