Pediatric Feeding Therapy Services

Feeding therapy for babies, toddlers, children, and adolescents

Our feeding team, comprised of Speech Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists, apply principles from advanced training (Sequential-Oral-Sensory “SOS”, Beckman Oral Motor, etc) to evaluate and treat patients with feeding concerns. We work with toddlers, children, and adolescents who experience difficulty with acceptance of new foods/textures, commonly referred to as “Problem Feeders”, patients who have feeding disorders, known as dysphagia, as well as mother’s with difficulty breastfeeding.

Learn more about helping problem feeders, dysphagia, and our lactation counseling

What causes feeding and swallowing disorders?

The following are some causes of feeding and swallowing disorders in children:

  • nervous system disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy, meningitis, encephalopathy)
  • gastrointestinal conditions (e.g., reflux, “short gut” syndrome)
  • prematurity and/or low birth weight (history of intubation or feeding tube)
  • heart disease
  • cleft lip and/or palate
  • conditions affecting the airway
  • autism
  • head and neck abnormalities
  • muscle weakness in the face and neck
  • multiple medical problems
  • respiratory difficulties
  • medications that may cause lethargy or decreased appetite
  • problems with parent-child interactions at meal times
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
 

New client feeding evaluation forms

To assist you with getting the most out of your first feeding therapy visit, please print and complete the age appropriate evaluation form:

  1. Feeding Evaluation Questionnaire 0 – 6 Years 
  2. Feeding Evaluation Questionnaire 7 Years and older 

Our evaluation process

In order to obtain a clear picture of your child’s needs, our therapists will complete an evaluation.  We will obtain medical history and a food diary, discuss symptoms, and gather information regarding overall development.  The therapist will then conduct an assessment to look at the strength and movement of the muscles involved in the oral phase of feeding as well as observe feeding to see your child’ s posture, behavior, and oral movements during eating and drinking.

Our treatment approach

If feeding therapy is recommended, we will work closely with both the child and family to develop an individualized treatment plan. The following are examples of areas that may be the focus of intervention:

  • making the muscles of the mouth stronger including the jaw, lips and tongue
  • increasing tongue movement to better control food inside the oral cavity
  • improving chewing for various types of textures including soft and crunchy
  • strengthening the core muscles that promote optimal positioning for feeding
  • increasing acceptance of different foods and liquids
  • improving sucking and/or drinking ability
  • providing sensory input to increase awareness or decrease sensitivity in and around the mouth
  • improving self feeding skills

Take Our Developmental Milestone Quiz!

As parents, we all want to ensure that our children are meeting crucial developmental milestones. Use this tool to see if your child is on the right track.

What Clients Are Saying

We have been coming to Cheshire Fitness Zone for fifteen years. Our son has a motor dyspraxia which causes challenges with posture, upper body strength, and affects his fine motor skills too. After coming consistently every week for 1-2 visits he has surpassed many of his physical challenges. Now as a young man he takes physical challenges like 5k’s and bike challenges with a smile. We are grateful to the many physical therapists he has had over the years. Each of them has encouraged him and pushed him to improve in a gentle, but firm way, and always with a sense of humor. Our son looks forward to coming every week.
The Anthony’s
I love it here. They make you feel like family; they work with your schedule. Everyone in the office is very friendly. I’m here with my son three times a week and I see the differences from when he first started and he’s been doing great. This place is just great with my son and with other kids I see around. I’m truly blessed to be around great people all the time.
Anonymous
The physical therapists at Cheshire Fitness Zone are warm, caring individuals. They have worked with my daughter for about a year and a half now and she has made tremendous progress building her core strength, coordination, balance, and overall strengthening. I recommend them highly.
Kristine Livolsi
We can’t thank you enough. I don’t think we would be where we are if it wasn’t for your care, guidance, and support for Cole and us.
Joyce Ann Piepenbring
I am so happy we came to Cheshire Fitness Zone. My daughter injured her hip figure skating. Another physical therapist diagnosed and treated her incorrectly. Luckily when we came to Cheshire Fitness Zone and saw Craig he discovered her injury was something else and much more of a serious injury. In fact, we were referred to a Pedi orthopedist who concluded with Craig’s diagnosis. The orthopedist said it was a good find, very difficult to catch, and often missed. My daughter had surgery and is now recovering and seeing Craig for rehab. She is almost done and doing well. Highly recommended Cheshire Fitness Zone.
Elaine Reilly
I love working at Cheshire Fitness Zone because the therapy team is always willing to collaborate and share different treatment strategies and therapy techniques. You are never at a loss for ideas!
Anonymous
Cheshire Fitness Zone has been wonderful. The office staff is very welcoming and informative and the OT that my son sees has a genuine interest in my son’s well-being. He always communicates well with me and makes sure to ease all of my concerns. My son loves coming to Cheshire Fitness Zone!
Anonymous
I am privileged to work with amazing children, wonderful families, skilled therapists, and professional staff each day at Cheshire Fitness Zone. We are a team working toward the best possible outcome for each unique child. I am so thankful to be a part of such a special place.
Anonymous
Both of our sons have participated in physical, occupational, and speech therapy at Cheshire Fitness Zone. We make the forty minute trek to Cheshire three times per week because the therapists are like none other we have encountered. Our sons (4 and 5 years old) have received therapy since birth and I was so pleased to have found Cheshire Fitness Zone. Both of my kids have been challenged and nurtured by the therapists. They are so amazing with the kids and I am thankful for their dedication.
Katy Blanchette
A five star rating would not be enough for Cheshire Fitness Zone! From the first time I called to schedule my son’s consult to now one year later, we are consistently greeted by the most caring and loving staff. My son goes to Cheshire Fitness Zone for oral motor/speech therapy and sees Miss Kim. When I say she is the best, she truly is! From day one she has put her heart and soul into my child’s therapy. The strides my son has made in one year is amazing. Not only is Kim the nicest person ever, she is extremely knowledgeable in her field and is constantly thinking of new ways to improve my son’s speech.
Nicole Rybaruk

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