Feeding and Swallowing
Feeding and swallowing disorders can occur at any stage in development for a variety of reasons.
Newborns may have difficulty latching to the breast/bottle or coordinating the intricacies of sucking, swallowing and breathing. Toddlers and young children may not tolerate foods of varying textures or perhaps don’t possess the motor skills required for chewing. And there are some children for whom swallowing liquids or solids safely is difficult. Feeding and swallowing difficulties put children at greater risk for poor nutrition, dehydration, slow weight gain and growth. aspiration (food/liquid entering the airway) and pneumonia or repeated upper airway infections.
Stacy and the BBPS team can help you navigate your child’s feeding and swallowing difficulties. We’ll begin by assessing your child’s current feeding and swallowing abilities, paying particular attention to the sensory, motor, or behavioral systems that may be contributing to the problem. Once we identify which systems are impaired, we will develop a set of goals and customize a treatment plan designed specifically for your child. We recognize that you, the parent, are the “true” expert when it comes to knowing your child; you are an integral part of your child’s success in therapy. We will work together towards helping your child become a more confident and happy eater!
Over at asha.org they’ve put together a helpful list called “Signs of feeding and swallowing disorders in children”.
Our staff is experienced in treating feeding and swallowing disorders as they coexist with the following:
- neurological conditions (cerebral palsy, encephalopathy)
- gastrointestinal conditions (reflux, esophageal atresia, motility disorders)
- cardiac disease
- structural differences (cleft lip/palate)
- respiratory and airway conditions (tracheostomy)
- difficulties with parent-child mealtime dynamics
- enteral feeding/transitioning to oral feeding
Individual evaluations are scheduled by appointment and typically last 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Your child’s motor, sensory and behavioral systems will be assessed. For infants, your baby will be observed during a typical feeding (breast and/or bottle) and may be fed by both the clinician and the primary caregiver. For older babies and children, you and your child will be observed during a mealtime experience. Additionally, we will observe your child’s performance when presented with foods of various consistencies.
A personalized written report based on the evaluation findings will be prepared for you and will be ready for delivery approximately 2-3 weeks after the evaluation. We are happy to correspond with your referring physician(s) within 2 days of the assessment.
To schedule and evaluation please call the office at 323.525.0247 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What to Bring to Your Evaluation
Click the button below to download the .zip file – it has all the forms and helpful documents you’ll need to review before your visit.
Feeding and swallowing therapy is offered individually and in small groups and sessions last one clinical hour (50 minutes). Parents are encouraged to participate in treatment sessions (as your child tolerates) in order to learn how to promote new skills at home.
We use a variety of treatment techniques to encourage the exploration and acceptance of new foods, develop the skills needed for improved sensory and motor control during eating, and improve the coordination and function of swallowing skills.
We are proud to be certified providers of VitalStim®, a non-invasive treatment modality that uses an electrical current to stimulate the muscles responsible for swallowing. It is used in conjunction with conventional therapy to help the brain establish muscle movement patterns required for safe, efficient swallowing. The Vital Stim® device is the only FDA-cleared neuromuscular electrical stimulation device for treatment of dysphagia (swallowing difficulty). The course of swallowing therapy using VitalStim® typically lasts between 15 to 20 sessions.
In addition to feeding and swallowing therapies, BBPS offers a comprehensive nutrition program for our clients, including counseling and dietary management.
Our registered dietician is also board certified in pediatric nutrition and provides counseling in the following areas:
- Healthy eating and wellness
- Selective eaters
- Weight management
- Poor weight gain/Failure to thrive
- Food allergies
- Meal and snack ideas
- Tube feeding management
- Transitioning form tube feedings toward oral feeds
- Specialty diets
BBPS also offers nutrition counseling services for your entire family. Private consultations are customized to address whatever nutritional concerns you or your family may have:
- Healthy eating and wellness
- Weight management
- Heart Disease
- Pre/post-natal nutrition
Bright Beginning’s Grub Club is a feeding group for picky eaters and problems feeders. The unique feeding needs of your child will be addressed in a fun and supportive environment, all while interacting with peers. Each session will be directed by two speech-language pathologists with training in a variety of feeding- based therapy techniques. Each new food will be introduced using the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) and Get Permission approach. Your child will never be pressured to eat, and they will leave with the skills and confidence to continue adding new foods to their diet. This group is ideal for children with:
- Food and texture aversions
- A limited diet
- Rigid mealtime routines
- Difficulty tolerating introduction of new foods
- Showing aversive reactions to foods (e.g., refusing, gagging)
- Unable to meet nutritional requirements
Bright Beginnings Pediatric Services
5657 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 280
Los Angeles, CA 90036
A minimum of 4 children per group, and a maximum of 5.
New sessions starting in 2018!