Introduction to Evaluation and Treatment of Children with Eating & Feeding Disorders (P)


Teachers, families, and health professionals are increasingly seeking Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists to address children’s medical and behavioral feeding disorders. This beginner and advanced beginner course is for pediatric therapists interested in developing the foundation skills to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment within an interdisciplinary setting.

The student will be provided with information on:
  • The anatomy and physiology of the swallow
  • Normal oral motor and self feeding development
  • Behavioral and social aspects of feeding disorders,
  • Etiology and characteristics of dysphagia, food refusal, under-nutrition, and other common feeding disorders
  • A sample therapeutic evaluation
  • Practical treatment strategies

Teaching methods are focused on promoting an interactive, lively learning experience with practical suggestions to enhance clinical problem solving. Course content delivered in text format, graphics, pictures, videos, live web links, experiential activities, discussion board, e-mail with instructor, and case studies. Grading is determined by one final exam with a minimum passing grade of 8

Topics include: The International Classification of Functioning and Disability, Normal Eating and Feeding Skills, Aspects of Eating and Feeding, Common Feeding Disorders, Management of Feeding Disorders, Therapeutic Assessment, Promoting Full Participation in Mealtime Environments, Therapeutic Treatment of Body Level Feeding/Eating Impairments and Special Populations and Case Studies.

Course Goal: Participants in this course will develop an understanding of normal and abnormal aspects of oral motor skills and swallowing, and examine the developmental, psychosocial and cultural factors affecting children’s eating and feeding skills. The student will be able to develop informed evaluation and intervention strategies to promote safe eating/feeding skills, and to encourage children’s participation in positive mealtime environments at home, school, and the community.

Upon completion of this course, the Learner will be able to:
  • Identify medical factors that contribute to pediatric feeding disorders.
  • Distinguish between normal, delayed, and abnormal oral motor skills.
  • Screen for aspiration during a clinical feeding assessment.
  • Describe pediatric clinical and instrumental swallowing evaluations.
  • Describe the contributions of the interdisciplinary medical team in the diagnosis and treatment of feeding disorders.
  • Develop clinical evaluation strategies to assess oral motor skills, screen for swallowing problems, and identify common behavioral problems related to pediatric eating and feeding.
  • Plan appropriate family centered, culturally sensitive intervention strategies for children with motor and behavioral feeding disorders.

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