Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Treating Children With Feeding Disorders

Is mealtime a struggle with your child? Do they reject new foods, textures and tastes with gagging and fits? If so, they may benefit with help from a speech-language pathologist. SLPs work with a wide variety of feeding disorders in infants and children, usually as part of a team approach including the physician, occupational therapist, physical therapist and behavioral analyst.

From a 2003 article in the ASHA Leader:

"Justine Joan Sheppard, an SLP from Nutritional Management Associates and Columbia University, notes that behavioral problems associated with feeding may be called conditioned dysphagia. Conditioned dysphagia is a learned disorder or maladaptive habit that maintains a behavior beyond the physiological need. Feeding aversion, failure to advance to age-appropriate foods, food selectivity, negative mealtime behaviors, and gagging are examples of conditioned dysphagia and may lead to problems such as failure to thrive. ... When instituting a behavioral feeding program, it is essential that the clinician remember that nutrition is the primary issue."

Our goal as SLPs is to prevent problems such as failure to thrive and malnutrition.

ASHA article
Overview of our feeding therapy
Our feeding therapy FAQ
Feeding developmental milestones

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