Understanding Pediatric Feeding Disorders: Challenges and Strategies

Pediatric Feeding

Feeding disorders can be the source of notable challenges for those suffering from them. Pediatric patients living with a feeding disorder can impact their overall well-being in various ways. Their growth and development can suffer if they aren’t receiving sufficient nutrition and support as part of their care. Advanced Pediatrics of Rocklands provides opportunities for education for both the patient and their families. Below we’ll explore the symptoms, causes, treatments, and methods of diagnosis for pediatric feeding disorder.

Understanding The Details of Pediatric Feeding Disorder

A pediatric feeding disorder can significantly impact a child’s ability to eat, drink, and swallow safely and effectively. The underlying source of these disorders varies but can include developmental delays, medical conditions, sensory issues, and behavioral concerns. Those with feeding disorders may display food refusal behavior, have difficulty chewing or swallowing, and only be open to a limited variety of foods. They may also be prone to gagging or vomiting while eating. 

Diagnosing a pediatric feeding disorder entails comprehensive evaluations with a team of physicians from multiple disciplines. This list can include occupational therapists, pediatricians, speech-language pathologists, and registered dietitians. The foundation of the diagnostic process is a thorough assessment, including a medical history review and physical examination. During this assessment, your child’s ability to eat and swallow food will be evaluated. This process may include dietary assessments, feeding observations, and special tests, including endoscopic and videofluoroscopic swallow studies.

Treatment of pediatric feeding disorders uses an approach specially tailored to address the foundational causes and aid in the improvement of the child’s ability to eat effectively and maintain good nutrition. Some common strategies that may be employed in this process include:

  • Behavioral Interventions:  These treatments are aimed at modifying concerns such as food refusal or aversion to certain foods. These often employ food chaining, positive reinforcement, and desensitization.
  • Sensory Integration Therapy: This therapeutic approach works with sensory processing struggles that are part of the challenges facing feeding. This is achieved by exposing the child to a variety of temperatures, tastes, and textures to promote tolerance and desensitize them to things they presently find objectionable.
  • Oral Motor Therapy: When children are struggling with eating safely and efficiently, oral motor therapy may be applied. This helps strengthen the muscles associated with swallowing and chewing food.
  • Feeding Therapy: This approach focuses on introducing new foods, flavors, and textures in a way that helps expand the child’s food repertoire and encourages the acceptance of a varied diet.

With the support of our team, we can help improve your child’s eating habits and help overcome the challenges these disorders can present. Without addressing these concerns, there’s a risk that these issues can become an ongoing struggle in their adult lives.

Contact Advanced Pediatrics of Rockland To Learn More

Pediatric feeding disorders are a complex issue that can be challenging for families to face together. When identified early and interventional steps are taken promptly, it’s possible to offset the longer-term struggles associated with them. When you work with Advanced Pediatrics of Rockland call them at (845) 364-9800 to schedule an appointment today!

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