Feeding and swallowing problems are most often associated with complex medical diagnoses (such as prematurity, reflux, complications secondary to tube feeding for extended periods of time, and disorders of the digestive system), anatomical or structural abnormalities (such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia or tracheo-esophagael fistula), allergies, or oral-motor dysfunction.
Feeding therapy can address not only swallowing but also sensory/behavioral issues that target the child’s ability to consume adequate quantities needed for their growth, development and nutrition. Children can demonstrate early or delayed introduction of solid foods, food refusal or aversions that can result in behaviors that are stressful for both parent and child during meals. Feeding therapy not only addresses patient needs but also provides support to caregivers for successful development and implementation of home-based feeding programs.
Feeding therapy helps infants, toddlers and children with a wide array of eating and feeding difficulties which may include one or more of the following:
- Reduced or limited intake
Food selectivity by type or texture
Dysphagia (swallowing difficulty)
Oral motor deficits
Delayed feeding development
Food or swallowing phobias
VitalStim Certified Therapists
VitalStim Therapy is an FDA approved form of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) used as a therapeutic intervention for dysphagia. Through the use of electrical stimulation, we are able to target and stimulate specific muscles used during various phases of the swallow, to increase strength, coordination, and movement thereby improving swallowing function. When used in conjunction with traditional swallowing therapy, VitalStim enhances the speed of intervention by helping education/re-educate the necessary muscles used for swallowing, resulting in better outcomes than using either one alone.
Many of our clinicians are certified in VitalStim through specifically designed instruction with hands on training and completion of course curriculum of this technique.