The Feeding Team at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center evaluates infants, children and adolescents from birth through age 18 with feeding difficulties. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists is experienced in treating children affected by extreme food selectivity or refusal, challenging mealtime behaviors, difficulty with transitioning from tube feeding to oral feeds, and specific skill deficits in the areas of swallowing or self-feeding. Medical diagnoses that may be associated with feeding difficulties include:
- Autism/pervasive developmental disorders
- Anxiety associated with eating
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- Cerebral palsy
- Congenital cardiac conditions
- Congenital syndromes
- Esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistulas
- Failure to thrive
- Gastro-esophageal reflux
- Oral motor deficits/dysfunction
- Sensory integrative dysfunction
Connecticut Children’s Feeding Team uses a multidisciplinary approach to assess a child’s feeding strengths and weaknesses. The team includes an occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, registered dietitian, and clinical psychologist. Two or more members of the team may be present for your child’s appointment.
Occupational therapists evaluate oral motor and oral sensory needs and will consider special positioning to enhance a child’s ability to feed and the potential for self-feeding.
Speech-language pathologists focus on the structure and function of the mouth, including coordination for swallowing. Should swallow function be a concern, the speech-language pathologist may recommend further assessment by additional tests including a Video Fluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS) or Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES).
Registered dietitians assess a child’s general nutritional intake, dietary needs, overall growth, and possible food and drug interactions.
Clinical psychologists assess behaviors around feeding, offer suggestions to the family, and facilitate referrals to mental health providers within the community when needed.