Feeding Therapy

Eating is not a simple process; it requires that food be ingested, swallowed, and finally, digested. Disruption of any of these processes may lead to malnutrition, poor growth, delayed development, and loss of general health and well-being.

At High Hopes, we offer oral-motor, sensory, and behavioral-based evaluations and therapy for children whose congenital/acquired medical issues, or behaviorally based impairments affect feeding. Our therapists can work with both you and your child, using specialized techniques, to improve feeding abilities.

Children who may benefit from feeding therapy may demonstrate:

Our clinicians are trained in:

  • Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding

  • Food Chaining

  • Beckman Oral Motor Approach

  • Pediatric Massage Therapy

  • Myofascial Release (MFR)

  • Lactation Counseling

The most common causes of feeding and/or swallowing difficulties include:

  • Complex medical conditions related to heart, lung, and gastroesophageal diseases

  • Oral sensory and motor issues

  • Structural abnormalities, such as cleft lip or palate

  • Neuromuscular disorders

  • Prematurity

  • Developmental disabilities

  • Social emotional and environmental factors

The signs and symptoms of pediatric dysphagia (swallowing/feeding disorder) can vary from child to child, but they often include:

  • Difficulty breathing while feeding or eating

  • Coughing, choking, or gagging during or after swallowing

  • Crying at mealtimes

  • Lack of responsiveness while eating

  • Dehydration

  • Inability to chew foods that are texturally age-appropriate

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Trouble controlling secretions, such as drooling or salivating, unrelated to teething

  • Detachment from food, such as turning away, facial grimaces, splayed fingers

  • Frequent constipation

  • Frequent respiratory illness

  • Noisy or wet vocal qualities during or after feeding

  • Unnecessarily long feed times

  • Refusing foods based on type or texture

  • Taking very small amounts, or overstuffing the mouth

  • Weight loss or lack of weight gain

  • Vomiting

Based on the problems your child is having, the goals of feeding therapy will be:

  • Enhancing the strength and coordination of the lips, tongue, and jaw

  • Eliminating certain food and drink aversions

  • Lessening resistance to feeding

  • Decreasing the risk of aspiration