Feeding an infant or child, and learning to eat independently can be challenging for many children. Although mealtime is usually a social time, it may become stressful for both child and parent or caregiver. When eating is a concern, parents may need assistance to know what to do.
Our PCDA Feeding Clinic provides specialized evaluation and treatment (intervention) services for children with all types of feeding concerns, and works closely with parents and other caregivers. Children may have medical conditions that cause difficulty in eating, or concerns related to a diagnosis, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or autism. Some children have sensory issues that effect eating or mealtime and/or have poor diets or are underweight. A child may need to learn to eat by mouth after an illness or being fed by tube.
Difficulties in eating occur for various reasons. Eating is a complex process that involves multiple elements that must work together. Eating involves interest in food, muscular coordination, physiological (body) functions, sensory processes and social experiences. Coordination is needed to suck, to bring food to the mouth and to bite, chew, swallow, and breathe. A child’s GI tract must function correctly, and he/she must have sensations of being hungry and full. Some children have strong reactions to foods with different tastes, smells or textures. Also, social interactions at mealtime are very important in learning to eat.
Our Feeding Team has extensive training and experience with children, birth to 12 years of age and their families. Our team includes a developmental pediatrician, a clinical nurse specialist, occupational therapists, registered dieticians, speech and language pathologists, child development specialists, a psychologist, and marriage and family therapists. Our multidisciplinary team approach offers children and families a range of knowledge and strategies to address feeding concerns. DIR®/Floortime strategies are important in guiding interactions during assessment and treatment.
Our feeding clinic has two unique features: our team of specialists work together to provide a comprehensive service for your child and family. We also involve parents (and caregivers) in every feeding session, and siblings when appropriate. Our feeding team approach has been successful in helping children to accomplish feeding goals for over 10 years, which make feeding safe, support growth and nutrition, as well as foster a positive experience with food and mealtime.
PCDA uses a multidisciplinary, developmental, family-centered approach in all services. With the exception of peer groups, our services actively involve parents or caregivers in every session.