Feeding Treatment Programs

  Summer 2012 Groups Registration Packet

Food is essential to a child's growth: it provides their body with nutrients to facilitate alertness and learning with energy for play. But eating is also a social actiFeeding Therapyvity. From infancy, food is one of the greatest motivators for shared attention, sound play, and reciprocal language development.

Cawn/Krantz offers five unqiue feeding treatment program experiences:

Infant Feeding Program: For most infants, sucking is second nature. Unfortunately, it is not so easy for some babies. The coordination of a suck-swallow-breathe sequence is a complex process. Interruptions in that sequence can make breast-feeding or bottle-drinking unsafe or inefficient. Difficulties with sucking can lead to slow weight gain and may put your baby at an increased risk for aspiration, which is the passage of food and/or liquid into the airway. Aspiration is a serious occurrence that can lead to respiratory infections and pneumonia.

Another common condition in infancy is reflux or the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. Almost all babies experience reflux. For some babies, reflux is more severe. It can cause extreme irritability, excessive crying, sleep disturbances, and refusal of the breast or bottle. Reflux is one of the leading causes of feeding difficulties in infancy.
As your baby grows, the introduction of pureed and solid table foods can be an exciting time. For some babies the transition to new textures is difficult. Purees and early table foods require better control of the lips and tongue. These new foods also provide additional sensory information (look, taste, feel, smell) that can feel overwhelming to some babies and cause gagging and food refusal.

Your baby may benefit from a clinical evaluation if your baby experiences any of the following:

      • Coughing and/or choking while breast or bottle feeding
      • Changes in color around the nose, eyes, and lips
      • Falling asleep during feedings
      • Arching, crying, and/or projectile vomiting
      • Reflux/GERD
      • Diffculty latching
      • Tongue-tie
      • Slow weight gain
      • Poor intake
      • Diffculty transitioning to pureed or table foods
      • Gagging
      • Excessive drooling of food and/or liquid

If you are concerned about your baby's feeding, please contant the Feeding Coordinator, Caroline Ferguson, M.A. CCC-SLP, at 847.480.8890, ext. 27.

Individual Therapy Program: A trained feeding clinican will work one-on-one with you and your child. This therapy model is used with children who are just beginning a therapeutic feeding program, infants or toddlers, and children whose feeding challenges are more significant. An individualized treatment program will be developed based on your child's initial evaluation and therapist recommendations. Preferred and non-preferred foods will be presented based on their sensory properties (i.e., look, smell, touch, taste) using a hierarchial, play-based approach. Both therapist and parent will work together to develop a communication plan that allows for consistent carry-over of treatment strategies to the home.

Dyad Program: a therapeutic feeding dyad is a pairing of two children who are at similiar developmental levels. These children have already participated in an individual feeding therapy program and are ready for the additional challenge of eating within the context of a peer interaction. Peers are extremely motivating and we find that children are often times more available to challenging themselves within the peer dynamic.

Small Group Program: A small feeding group may consist of 3-4 children, along with two trained feeding therapists. These groups follow a structured routine in which "meals" are simulated. Participants are encouraged to explore combinations of both preferred and non-preferred foods when presented in meal format (e.g., turkey sandwich, raw baby carrots with plain hummus, red apple slices). The therapists lead discussions about the sensory properties (look, smell, touch, taste) of the food in order to help participants develop strategies for the independent exploration of novel foods. Over time, as the strenght of the peer relationships grow, so too does their willingness to engage with more challenging foods.

Chef Buddies Program: Chef Buddies is a structured feeding program, which encourages children to explore food through simple "cooking" experience. Chef Buddies helps children develop strategies for positive exploration of novel foods, while simultaneously supporting social interaction with peers. Groups are led by trained speech and occupational therapists. Each group opens with a sensory prep activity, which helps ready participants' bodies for eating. Then each group is transitioned to the kitchen for a weekly "cooking" experience. Simple recipe cards are provided each week for your child to take home in order to encourage "cooking" at home. Chef Buddies is a great opportunity for your child to have fun with food and friends. 
 Placement in a Chef Buddies group is determined by your child's developmental readiness and previous experience in a therapeutic feeding program. Please contact the Feeding Coordinator, Caroline Ferguson at 847.480.8890, ext 27.