Feeding Therapy

Feeding Therapy

At Fleming Therapy Services, our approach to treating feeding and swallowing impairments is collaborative and family-centered. We have the resources to treat in a multidisciplinary manner by collaborating with our own occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language therapists and a pediatric dietician as deemed necessary. In addition, we believe that family involvement and training is crucial to success. While the majority of our families are referred for feeding services by their primary care provider or pediatrician, our skilled professionals at Fleming Therapy Services will consult with any family who has concerns about their child’s feeding development and individual needs.

If you suspect that your child has a feeding or swallowing impairment, let us help! According to The University of Maryland School of Medicine, 25% of children are reported to present with some form of a feeding disorder. This number increases to 80% in developmentally delayed children. The following “red flags” indicate a need for a feeding therapy consultation:

  • Food refusal or food selectivity (by food group, texture, color, etc.)
  • Difficulty with food transitions (inability to wean from breast-feeding or bottle-feeding, off baby foods)
  • Consistent inability to gain height or weight at check-ups
  • Delayed or disorganized oral motor skills (i.e. inability to chew, swallow, or spitting out preferred foods frequently)
  • Mealtime behavior problems (crying, tantrums, inability to stay at chair, lengthy meals, negative attitudes towards eating)
  • Nasogastric or gastrostomy tube dependence
  • Safety concerns during mealtimes including recurrent gagging, vomiting, a “wet” voice, watery eyes
  • Delayed gross and fine motor skills necessary for feeding according to age (i.e. sitting up with support, ability to self-feed)
  • Feeding and swallowing disorders associated with developmental disorders and medical conditions including: Autism spectrum disorders, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, cranio-facial anomalies, food allergies and sensitivities, gastroesophageal reflux, gastrointestinal defects, genetic conditions, human immune deficiency virus, metabolic disorders, and Sensory processing disorder

All of our treatment plans and goals are individualized. These goals might include:

  • Weight gain and growth
  • Weaning from tube dependency by accepting food and drinks by mouth
  • Improving oral motor skills to chew and swallow foods safely
  • Drinking from an age-appropriate cup
  • Increasing variety of foods in food groups, textures, or volumes of food
  • Decreasing oral hypersensitivity
  • Having positive experiences at mealtimes