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Feeding Disorders Program

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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 intellectual and social-emotional development, and growth retardation. 

Specific feeding issues may include:

  • Failure to thrive (low weight for age)
  • Food or swallowing phobia
  • Sensitivity to food type and/or texture
  • Inability to chew, swallow
  • Mealtime behavior problems (tantrums, lengthy meals)
  • Nasogastric or gastrostomy tubes
  • Recurrent gagging, vomiting
  • Refusal to eat or drink

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

Specialized care.

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

Testing may include a videofluoroscopic swallowing function study (VFSS) to evaluate your child's ability to protect his airway during feeding. This test is usually followed by an oral motor/feeding evaluation. 

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

Locations/Contact Us

Contact Feeding Disorders Program


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Occupational Therapy, Akron
Akron Children's Hospital Specialty Care
214 W. Bowery Street
Akron, Ohio 44308
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