“Feeding is not solely a task of nutritional intake, but also has many social correlates in infancy and throughout the lifespan.” --Catherine Shaker
Mealtime is an intimate and powerful experience. When there are difficulties with feeding and swallowing, this results in a negative impact on not only the infant or child, but the entire family dynamic. In our feeding program, our Speech-Language Pathologists are trained to assist you in fostering functional, safe and positive mealtime experiences. We treat a variety of feeding and swallowing disorders in infants and children related to developmental disabilities, prematurity, neuromuscular deficits, oral motor dysfunction, sensory processing challenges or other complex medical pathologies. Our clinicians utilize a wide variety of evidence-based techniques to ensure that your child receives excellent and comprehensive care for functional improvements in their mealtime skills. Our program believes in a consistently collaborative approach to therapy. We regularly communicate with all members of your feeding team including but not limited to pediatricians, ENTs, gastroenterologists, neurologists, nutritionists, allied health professionals and more.
Red Flags of Pediatric Feeding Disorder:
1. Coughing, color changes, watery eyes, gagging during or immediately after, mealtime.
2. Extreme physiological response to food presentation (sensory overload, fight or flight response, panicked breath patterns, crying/tantrums)
3. Abnormal on the growth curve/failure to thrive
4. A diet excluding many food groups (protein, fruits, vegetables, grains etc.) and resulting in severe nutritional or vitamin deficiency
5. Oral aversion (doesn't like sensation around the face or mouth)
7. Difficulties with suck-swallow-breathe, compression, suction or latching during breast or bottle feeding
8. Fatigue during or immediately following mealtime
9. Difficulty breathing or poor breath patterns when eating (may require frequent breaks)
10. Food or liquid spilling from the mouth when eating/drinking
11. Challenges with biting and/or chewing food rhythmically and enough to prepare for swallowing/Taking a long time to chew food
12. Problems with moving the tongue in order to move food around in the mouth
13. Frequent emesis (vomiting) as related to mealtime
14. Pocketing food in the cheeks and on the palate
15. Significant leftover food residue on tongue, cheeks, palate after swallow.
16. Back arching, finger splaying, color changes during breast or bottle feeding
Courtney is a Speech-Language Pathologist whose passion for pediatric feeding began in the Maryland school system six years ago while working with children with Down Syndrome. Upon transitioning to Monterey, she entered private practice and studied under a mentor with NICU and outpatient pediatric feeding expertise. Courtney believes the area of infant and child feeding disorders to be a delicate and challenging subspecialty requiring a continuum of learning, mentorship and research. She has trained and continues to train in internationally renowned pediatric feeding programs to include the SOFFI method through Dr. Erin Ross, the Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding through the Star Institute and Passy Muir for pediatric tracheostomy. Courtney is additionally a Community Ambassador for the national organization of Feeding Matters. She regularly conducts community outreach in Albuquerque and throughout the New Mexico area to raise awareness for comprehensive pediatric feeding assessment and care.