The mission of the NAPA Center Feeding Program (Intensive Feeding Therapy) is to provide families and their children with the skills and techniques necessary to love eating and to become safer, more comfortable, and confident in advancing their child’s feeding and swallowing skills.
Many feeding and swallowing disorders assessed and treated at NAPA Center occur secondary to disorders including but not limited to cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, oral motor disorders, autism spectrum disorder, seizure disorders, diet restrictions, and developmental disabilities.
Our team offers outpatient consultations, assessment, and intervention to target a wide range of feeding and swallowing disorders and difficulties (dysphagia). We work with patients from six months of age and older, targeting concerns with feeding aversions, sensory related feeding challenges, and swallowing disorders. We also provide a supportive environment for parents and children who are g-tube dependent as they work towards increasing oral eating.
Your child will receive individualized one on one treatment incorporating sensory and/or motor approaches for 2-3 hours per day, five days per week, for three weeks. Therapy program recommendations will be discussed following an initial screening with the Rehabilitation Director. Each hour of therapy will be provided by a feeding specialist (Speech Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist).
Your child’s intensive programming is individually tailored to accommodate your child and family’s current level and needs. Family members and caregivers involved will be trained on how to create a happy and safe mealtime experience with your child and how to incorporate therapy techniques into daily mealtimes. Families will leave home with an individualized home program to smoothly carryover learned skills and strategies.
NAPA Center has offered intensive Physical, Occupational, Speech and Language, and Feeding therapy services through an interdisciplinary model for over ten years. Our intensive feeding program takes a global developmental approach in treating feeding challenges following evidence-based practice and current research in feeding and swallowing treatment. Research demonstrates developmental domains including sensory processing, oral motor, gross motor, and fine motor abilities are interrelated (Serel, Demir, Inal, & Karaduman, 2018). Children with feeding and swallowing disorders often present with delays or deficits across these areas. Thus, a child narrowly defined as being a “picky eater” or as having “sensory feeding difficulties” often possess oral motor challenges that contribute to their feeding challenges and vice versa.
NAPA Center believes that a global approach to feeding and swallowing disorders maximizes progress towards goals. This approach ensures a child’s oral motor and sensory processing skills, ongoing medical conditions, feeding environment, and overall development are properly assessed and considered when creating an individualized treatment plan. For children that are g-tube dependent, we provide caregiver training and education to offer a supportive environment that encourages oral feeding. Feeding therapy may prioritize 1-2 areas of greatest need or target all areas simultaneously depending on each child’s current skill level. Our therapists will collaborate with other healthcare professionals involved in your child’s care when necessary to improve overall feeding and swallowing development.
To find out if your child is a candidate for our Intensive Feeding Program, please email or call us at (424) 269-3400.
To view more feeding resources on our website, visit our blog.