The Penn State Children’s Hospital Approach to the Feeding Program
Food is nourishment for your child's body, and we want to help your child thrive. Our experts come from different specialties and work together to help children will all kinds of feeding problems live healthier, happier lives.
Full Range of Feeding Program Services
Our Feeding Program offers comprehensive care for children from birth to age 18, including:
- Feeding evaluation clinics – our team performs tests and works with your family to create a care plan that’s right for your child’s challenges. We offer clinics with experts from several pediatric specialties related to feeding problems, such as pediatric gastroenterology (GI), behavioral psychology, nutrition and speech pathology.
- Outpatient services – our staff provides outpatient treatment for feeding problems, including food refusal, food selectivity, choking or swallowing phobias, problems with chewing or swallowing, tube feeding management, transitioning to solid foods and insufficient weight gain. We also help with medication adherence such as teaching pill swallowing.
- Intensive day treatment program – most children take part in five to 10 feeding sessions per day, from 8:30 or 9 a.m. until 4:30 or 5 p.m. All feeding therapy sessions are conducted by one of our feeding therapists or by the child’s caregiver if it’s a training session.
A Wide Range of Specialists
Our Feeding Program has many experts on staff. Depending on the care your child needs, the care team may include:
- Pediatric gastroenterologists
- Speech pathologists
- Feeding therapists
Our Experts in Feeding Problems
Experts from different specialties work together to help children will all kinds of feeding problems live healthier, happier lives.
Why Choose Penn State Children's Hospital for Care?
We work with your family to find the best solutions for your child's feeding challenges. Our goal is to create a personalized treatment plan that you are involved in and can follow.
Nationally Recognized Care
Penn State Children’s Hospital is routinely ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation because of our focus on patient care, safety and research.
Penn State Children’s Hospital's Feeding Program provides care for:
- Chewing problems
- Choking phobias (fears)
- Food refusal
- Food sensitivity
- Problems with weight gain
- Swallowing problems
- Transitioning to solid foods
- Tube feeding management
Do I need to get a referral?
Depending upon your insurance company, you may or may not need a referral. Some insurance companies also require preauthorization (that means you must be approved before your visit to be covered). Please call your insurance company to find out what steps to take.
Who will my child see at the first visit?
That depends on your child. We use the information caregivers share ahead of time help us determine which providers will be at your first appointment.
What do I bring to the visit and how long is it?
Clinic visits last from one to one and half hours in most cases. We usually try to watch your child eat during the visit, so please bring food to the visit.
How long is the average stay at the Intensive Day Treatment Program?
t depends on the feeding problem and your child’s progress. The average stay is about 3 to 5 weeks.
What will I have to provide for the Intensive Day Treatment Program?
We provide all food, formula, feeding supplies, reinforcers and any special equipment needed. Please bring the child’s medicine, diapers (if used) and medical supplies not related to feeding.
What activities are available to the children at the Intensive Day Treatment Program?
We have a large playroom stocked with toys, puzzles, books and other fun things for children.
Are other therapies available to the children at the Intensive Day Treatment Program?
At Intensive Day Treatment Program, our primary focus is on eating. The caregivers can feel free to practice therapy activities outside of meals.
Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Our Convenient Locations
Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.Find a Location Near You