Pediatric Feeding Therapy Services
We work with 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 adolscents 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 problem feeders, dysphagia and lactation counseling
Children who require professional feeding intervention demonstrate concerns beyond being picky. Many children prefer certain foods and can be stubborn when new foods are presented. Problem feeders present with signs/symptoms that are much more severe such as:
- Diet consisting of less than 20 foods
- May lose foods that were once accepted and do not reacquire them
- Refuse foods even when hungry
- Demonstrate behaviors (crying/tantrums/withdrawal) associated with eating or just being in the presence of food
- Unwilling to try new foods after many presentations
Dysphagia can occur at different phases including oral, pharyngeal and esophageal. Our therapists specialize in treating oral phase dysphagia which includes sucking, chewing, controlling food inside the oral cavity and moving food or liquid into the throat to successfully swallow.
Some signs/symptoms that may be exhibited due to oral phase dysphagia may include:
- Food or liquid leaking from the mouth
- Food or liquid scattering in the mouth
- Pocketing food inside the cheeks
- Reduced sensitivity- Difficulty feeling food and therefore cannot control it
- Difficulty chewing due to weaknesses in oral musculature
Breastfeeding provides a mother and baby with best possible nutrition and several other health benefits that begin from the moment of birth. When encountering difficulty, we are able to provide Certified Lactation Counseling services. Combined with training as feeding therapists, we are able to assess and treat a variety of concerns related to latch, milk production, oral motor skill, muscle tone, and positioning, all of which may be impacting the breastfeeding process.
Once your baby is here, we can help if you or your newborn are:
- Experiencing a painful latch
- Difficulty maintaining a latch
- Showing limited weight gain
- Fussy or discontent following a feed
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
- 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:
Our evaluation process
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
What Clients Are Saying
Everyone at Cheshire Fitness is always so friendly and welcoming. They provide a wonderful atmosphere for the children and are so supportive. The best gift anyone can give a parent is caring for his or her kid and helping his or her kid to live to their greatest potential and that is exactly what the therapists at Cheshire Fitness Zone do. They truly care and we will be forever grateful for the tools they have provided our child.
My twelve year old daughter has been seeing Craig since she was four years old and she loves coming to the ‘gym.’ I love that she refers to it as the ‘gym’ instead of therapy. She sees her therapy as a place where she works her body to become stronger and has fun. She is disappointed if therapy is canceled. The staff is wonderful and works to find the right fit with each child and therapist. They work across modalities and communicate with the school and her doctors. I am thankful to have Cheshire Fitness Zone in my daughter’s life! Thank you!
Cheshire Fitness Zone provides staff at our school that understands the role of related service providers in educational settings, meet the educationally related needs of the students, and communicate well with faculty, staff, and parents. They exhibit a high degree of professionalism and state of the art physical therapy.
Highly recommend. The warm, loving atmosphere sets the tone for these highly motivated therapists to do their thing. The office staff is top notch as well!!
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.
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.
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!
From the moment you check in at the front desk to your discussion with your therapist at the end of the session, you feel at home, respected, and in great hands. The improvements you will see in your child will say it all.
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.
Cheshire Fitness Zone therapists offer hope, encouragement, and creativity. They deliver on persistence, personal gains, and individual growth because they genuinely care. In spite of working on the steps to tie his shoes for over six months at a different facility, at Cheshire Fitness Zone Erin never lost hope or let him quit. Although he had no idea each week she worked on skills that when put together would tie a shoe. She approached the idea of tying many times only to be met with complete resistance and totally shutting down. Then one day he came to me after his session and said, ‘Hey mom, guess what? I can tie my shoes.’ When I saw the pride in his eyes and the encouragement on Erin’s face I knew he had done it. It was one of the happiest moments of his childhood. What a gift…self-pride and independence.