FEEDING & SWALLOWING
The development of feeding skills is essential to a child's physical, cognitive, and emotional growth. Children begin acquiring feeding skills as infants and gradually progress to have adult-like skills by the age of three. In these critical first three years of life, children learn to manage a variety of textures, starting with liquids and then advancing to purees and solids. They become increasingly skilled at using utensils and eventually become independent self-feeders.
Many children can be described as "picky eaters" in these early years, but when is it more than just being picky? A feeding disorder can manifest in a variety of ways. Some children have an extremely restricted repertoire of ingested foods. Others do not consume enough volume to maintain a healthy weight. Still others may not be able to progress to age-appropriate textures. Whatever the feeding-related problem, the situation can be extremely stressful for both children and their families.
Common Referral Criteria for a Feeding Evaluation or Therapy:
Delay in feeding milestones
Weight loss or lack of weight gain for 2-3 months
Persistent gagging or coughing while eating
Irritability surrounding meals
Severe behavior problems related to feeding