Pediatric Feeding Therapy

Pediatric Feeding Therapy

Eating is important to the social and physical development of a child. Meal time provide an opportunity for families and friends to sit together and and socialize while sharing a meal. For families with a child with a significant feeding disorder, meal times can be very stressful and disruptive. Significant feeding problems can isolate a child and family from quality time together and can lead to isolation from the community due to disruptive behaviors associated with meals.

The Emerge Center’s Pediatric Feeding Therapy Program is designed to help parents or caregivers identify the core challenges with feeding. The program provides systematic, evidence based treatment for the child to start making progress towards more successful mealtime experiences.

Our Pediatric Feeding Therapy Program is designed for children up to age 12 with significant food selectivity, often including meal time problem behaviors and poor nutritional health.  Children with a Pediatric Feeding Disorder may be over, under, or average weight, and may not be able to receive all nutrients needed with without additional supplementation such as vitamins. As part of  The Emerge Center’s Behavioral Health Department, therapy in this program is based in principles of behavioral analysis and is heavily focused on reinforcement and motivation, along with antecedent manipulations to increase the likelihood of success at mealtimes.

Typical referral reasons include:

  • Complete refusal of a type of food (fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.)
  • Complete refusal of a texture of food (crunch, smooth, lumpy)
  • Significant food selectivity defined as eating only 12 or fewer foods
  • Only eating on a certain plate or drinking from a certain cup
  • Liquid supplementation such as Pediasure
  • Tantrums when new foods are presented
  • Disruptive meal time behaviors such as throwing foods
  • Difficulty to progress with self-feeding

Feeding Therapy Intake Process:

  1. Request a referral from your child’s physician for Behavioral Health: Feeding Therapy. Referrals should be faxed to 225-343-4233 to the attention of Behavioral Services: Feeding Therapy.
  2. Once the referral is received, our Intake Coordinator will contact you to complete a phone screen.
  3. You will be scheduled for the next Feeding Intake opening with the Psychologist. Please remember to bring all evaluations and reports related to your child for review.
  4. The Feeding Intake appointment will be a one hour appointment. You should bring both preferred and non-preferred foods so that the Psychologist can observe a typical meal.
  5. If therapy is recommended, you will be scheduled for regularly occurring sessions with the psychologist. Typically, feeding sessions are one hour, once a week. However, the frequency of sessions will differ depending on your child’s therapeutic needs.