Feeding and Swallowing Program
When eating doesn’t come easily, a specialized feeding program can be life-changing for a child and their family. Children's Hospital Colorado Feeding and Swallowing Program provides a comprehensive, family-centered approach to assessment and treatment of children with feeding and or swallowing difficulties.
Feeding issues usually involve many different aspects of a child’s health, development, growth, nutrition and overall well-being. Our program’s interdisciplinary approach utilizes experts from a variety of disciplines including developmental pediatricians, physiatrists, pediatric nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and dietitians. The result is a patient-specific treatment program that considers medical status, nutritional status, motor skills, sensory systems, behavioral/emotional components and communication. Access to and consultation with a wide variety of medical specialists is also a unique component of our program.
A feeding problem can present in a variety of ways, including:
- Chronic poor growth
- Compromised nutritional status
- Food refusal/picky eating
- Decreased variety and volume of oral intake
- Choking, gagging, coughing and vomiting while eating
- Inability to chew/swallow
- Delayed attainment of self-feeding skills
- Inability to maintain oral skills when tube fed
- Difficulty transitioning from tube to oral feeding
- Behavioral or learned feeding problems
A swallowing problem can present in a variety of ways, including:
- Coughing or choking while eating or immediately after eating
- History of chronic pulmonary difficulties which may included diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia
- Vocal cord dysfunction
- Food being suctioned out of the child’s tracheotomy
- Weight gain is difficult and thought to be secondary to oral motor or pharyngeal dysfunction
- Difficulty initiating a swallow
Swallowing Disorders Clinic
The Swallowing Disorders Clinic provides a nutritional, oral motor/oral sensory and radiographic assessment when there is a concern regarding swallowing dysfunction and aspiration.
Pediatric Oral Feeding Clinic
The Pediatric Oral Feeding Clinic provides a medical, nutritional, oral motor/oral sensory and developmental assessment when there is a concern regarding limited oral intake, food refusal, picky eating, poor weight gain and/or difficulty transitioning off of tube or supplemental feedings.
Individual Feeding Assessments
Individual Feeding Assessments are available for children with specific oral motor, oral sensory and/or gross/fine motor difficulties which impact feeding.
Individual and Group Feeding Treatment
Treatment is available to assist with a wide variety of feeding challenges ranging from delays in oral motor/oral sensory development, food refusal, reduced volume and variety of intake, behavioral feeding issues and difficulty transitioning from tube to oral feeding. Speech-Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists work with the family and other professionals such as Nutrition and Gastroenterology (GI) for optimal success.
Download the Feeding and Swallowing Program patient questionnaire (.pdf)
Download the questionnaire in Spanish (.pdf)
Individual and group feeding treatment is available at Children's Hospital Colorado main campus and satellite clinics throughout metro Denver. For more information call Children's Hospital Colorado at (720) 777-6168 and ask for the Feeding and Swallowing Program.