» Pediatric Feeding & Swallowing Therapy

Pediatric Feeding & Swallowing Therapy

Pediatric Feeding & Swallowing Therapy

Pediatric feeding and swallowing problems are typically complex and multifactorial and result from a combination of factors including issues that can make eating difficult or sometimes painful. Our Speech and Occupational therapists can successfully remediate feeding problems and specialize in diagnosing, prioritizing treatment options and ensuring successful outcomes for your child.  

Specialized programs include the CAN-EAT© Approach and the Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention Program. Research indicates that the prevalence of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders is 80% in the special needs population and 20% in typically developing children.

Feeding and swallowing therapy may be helpful for children who:

  • Cough/choke during meals
  • Are stuck on baby foods
  • Have poor oral-motor skill acquisition
  • Are "picky eaters"
  • Refuse foods
  • Cannot eat a variety of foods from all food groups
  • Have oral aversion
  • Do not use age-appropriate utensils or cups/straws
  • Have G-tube dependence
  • Have difficulties with weight
  • Have stress or anxiety around mealtimes

CAN-EAT© Approach

Our SLPs utilize the CAN-EAT Approach© developed by Krisi Brackett, MS, SLP/CCC which combines medical (GI & respiratory), motor, nutritional, behavioral and therapeutic strategies for children with pediatric feeding disorders. In the CAN-EAT Approach© “CAN” stands for Comfort And Nutrition which come first. The first steps of your child's therapy will focus on strategies to build GI comfort and good growth as well as explore other possible medical issues that interfere with their feeding progression. Therapy will next focus on therapeutic strategies from a variety of philosophies. “EA” represents Establishing Acceptance of the spoon/utensil or easy textures. Lastly “T” stands for Therapy for skill development and feeding progression.

Beckman Oral Motor

The Beckman Oral Motor Assessment and Intervention Program was developed by Debra Beckman, a SLP in 1975. This specialized intervention utilizes assisted movement and stretch reflexes to help activate muscle contraction, build strength and improve range of motion in the lips, jaw, tongue and soft palate. It assesses the response to pressure, movement, range and strength, and variety and control of movement. This program is also very beneficial for children that have difficulty following verbal commands due to motor planning delays and/or a cognitive deficit. Our therapists also use this approach with children as a highly effective tool for improving their oral motor skills to reinforce feeding and speech development. Issues such as tooth grinding, drooling and hyper/hyposensitivity may also be addressed by the Beckman protocol.  Techniques used are skillfully presented in a playful, gentle manner, so that all children feel respected throughout the session.  Additionally, our therapists emphasize parent/caregiver training to promote technique carryover into the home for maximum benefit.