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Feeding Disorders Program

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Department Main Image

Overview

As many as 1 in 4 children experience some type of feeding difficulty during infancy or early childhood. We evaluate and treat young children with a variety of feeding problems to ensure they get the proper nutrition and eat in an age-appropriate way.

About feeding disorders.

A feeding disorder is identified when a child is unable or refuses to consume a sufficient quantity or variety of solids and liquids to maintain proper nutrition. As a result, your child may experience weight loss, malnutrition, lethargy, impaired development and poor growth.

Signs of a feeding issue may include:

  • Coughing or choking with breast and/or bottle feeding
  • Trouble with swallowing or chewing
  • Gagging or choking with food
  • Mealtimes or eating routines that are stressful for you and your child
  • Poor growth
  • Feeding refusal
  • Limited diet
  • Congestion, wheezing or trouble breathing when eating
  • Difficulty advancing to solid foods or trying new foods
  • Fear or anxiousness affecting feeding or eating
  • Sensitivity to food type and/or texture

Causes of feeding disorders.

A number of medical conditions can cause feeding problems. They are:

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • cerebral palsy
  • craniofacial anomalies
  • cystic fibrosis
  • dysphagia
  • failure to thrive
  • food allergy
  • gastrointestinal issues such as pain, reflux and motility disorders
  • HIV
  • metabolic disorders
  • oral-motor dysfunction
  • prematurity
  • reactive airway disease
  • short bowel syndrome

Children may also benefit from our program as they wean from feeding with nasogastric or gastrostomy tubes.

Specialized care.

Our team includes a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, dietitian and behavioral psychologist. Together, we provide a comprehensive assessment to identify the issues interfering with feeding and then develop a personalized treatment plan for your child.

Testing may include a videofluoroscopic swallowing function study (VFSS) to evaluate how safely your child swallows liquid and/or food. The study shows if food goes into your child's airway instead of the stomach and which parts of the mouth or throat may not work well. The purpose of this test is to suggest changes that will improve your child's feeding/eating. It is usually followed by a feeding evaluation. During the feeding evaluation, our team members will meet with you and watch your child eat.

Based on the results of these tests, we will develop a home program and feeding guidelines. We may also offer other recommendations to meet the specific needs of your child. 

Locations/Contact Us

Contact Feeding Disorders Program

330-543-3835

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Occupational Therapy
Akron Children's Hospital Occupational Therapy, Akron
214 West Bowery Street
2nd floor - Orange elevator
Level 2
Akron, Ohio 44308
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