Every day, parents across the world struggle when their children are diagnosed with pediatric feeding disorder. Parents often feel helpless and it can be overwhelming to deal with questions like “which provider is best?”
“Feeding Matters has been such a big part of the feeding community. They have really done a great job advocating for families and creating resources for us as therapists and for families to really get a comprehensive look at PFDs,” says Amanda Hermann, a speech language pathologist. “Because each child’s feeding disorder will develop differently, you have to treat them all as an individual.”
Feeding Matters’ Coordinated Care Model examines the complexities of a child’s feeding disorder, focusing on the four key domains that significantly impact his or her lifelong well-being: medical, nutrition, feeding skill, and psychosocial.
- Medical: The act of eating is a complex task that involves the entire body and its organs working as one seamless unit. It takes 13 paired muscles (26 total) and six cranial nerves working in perfect harmony to move food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. This process takes only seconds but is the single most complex and physically demanding task an infant will complete for the first few weeks, and even months, of life.
- Nutrition: Nutrition is the foundation for growth and development. Whether your infant or child eats by mouth or through a feeding tube, good nutrition allows children to thrive. It directly affects a child’s brain activity and capabilities, fine and gross motor skill development, and overall health and wellness.
- Feeding Skill: Learning to eat skillfully and comfortably is rooted in the development of sensory and movement skills that make it possible for an infant or child to suck, swallow, bite, and chew. Feeding skills and abilities include the social, communication, and interactive skills that integrate with mealtime skills.
- Psychosocial: When children are struggling to eat, behavior is their way of communicating that something may not be working the way it should. It is also how they show their like or dislike for certain food. These behaviors can often leave family members and caregivers feeling confused and frustrated, impacting the parent–child relationship and the child’s thoughts and behaviors toward feeding.
When correctly diagnosed, overcoming feeding disorders is possible. The true concern lies with early identification and intervention. Together through collaborative care and the proper support system, pediatric feeding disorder can become manageable and treatable.