Investigation of Assessment Tools in the Area of Pediatric Feeding Evaluation

April 29, 2021 1:00 pm

With the movement to classify the range of feeding problems in the pediatric population into a unifying term “Pediatric Feeding Disorder” (PFD), there is a need for standard guidelines to choose the most appropriate assessment tool(s) that aligns with the four domains of PFD including: medical, nutritional, feeding skills, and psychosocial factors (Goday, 2019). A recent systematic review on the psychometric characteristics of 10 non-instrumental pediatric feeding and swallowing assessments found missing, incomplete or conflicting psychometric data for all reviewed (Speyer et al., 2018). Assessment and treatment of PFD is critical in all domains to ensure inter-disciplinary collaboration and positive outcomes for both child and family. This study seeks to address two specific research questions: (1) To what extent do current assessments by feeding clinicians address the four domains of PFDs? (medical, nutritional, feeding skills, and psychosocial factors) and (2) What are feeding clinicians’ perceptions of current assessment tools used in the evaluation of PFDs?

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Summarize the assessment tools currently being utilized by occupational therapists and speech language pathologists in the US for pediatric feeding disorders
  • Associate the current assessment tools they use in practice to the Pediatric Feeding domains and will be able to then analyze the effectiveness of the tools they use in covering all of the domains of PFDs


  • Kate Barlow, OT, OTD, OTR

    Kate Barlow, OTD is an Assistant Professor at American International College. She is also the current ambassador for the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early program for the state of Massachusetts. Dr. Barlow received her BS in Occupational Therapy from Boston University, and her MS and OTD from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She has over 20 years of clinical experience that includes public school practice, early intervention, a pediatric hospital-based outpatient clinic and management. Dr. Barlow’s area of clinical expertise is pediatric feeding and swallowing, which she has presented on at the OT state conferences of CT, MA, NH and VA, as well as guest lectured on the topic at Western New England University, Shenandoah University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Barlow presented her research on pediatric feeding difficulties relating to ARFID at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy conference in South Africa. She is the current recipient of the Feeding Matters grant with Dr. Paula Rabaey for her current research in Pediatric Feeding Disorders. Dr. Barlow’s passion is in global outreach. She founded the International Interprofessional Mentorship Program that currently provides mentorship to over 100 therapists in over 15 countries. She also started an open educational resource (OER) page for occupational therapists to share resources and knowledge.

    Financial Disclosures:Assistant Professor at American International College where she receives a salary; was awarded a grant from the Feeding Matters small grants committee

    Non-financial Disclosures: Serves as a member of AOTA; WIC Developmental Monitoring Advisory team member; ambassador for the AOTA Political Action Committee; Serves on the AOTA Community of Practice: Mental Health in Schools; serves on the executive advisory and mentorship team for Occupational Therapy Without Borders; serves as a member of Massachusetts Association for Infant Mental Health, Massachusetts Occupational Therapy Association; World Federation of Occupational Therapy

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  • Paula Rabaey, Ph.D., OTR/L

    Paula Rabaey, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. She has 25+ years clinical experience in pediatric occupational therapy including early intervention and feeding, eating, and swallowing. She is a feeding technical expert for SPOON Foundation and has developed curriculum to train caregivers in orphanages around the world to safely feeding children with disabilities. She recently presented on pediatric feeding and assessment strategies in Tula, Russia in May 2019 and at the 2nd Annual OT conference in Morocco January 2020. Her dissertation focused on the meaning of mealtime for African American mothers and their young children living in under-resourced areas which was presented at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy Conference in South Africa in 2018. 

    Financial Disclosures: Associate Professor at St. Catherine University where she receives a salary; is receiving an honorarium from Feeding Matters for CE session at the 2021 International Pediatric Feeding Disorder Conference; was awarded a grant from the Feeding Matters small grants committee.

    Non-financial Disclosures: Serves as a member of AOTA, WFOT, and SSO-USA

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