The Discrete Swallow Initiative: Advancing Pre-Feeding Skills in the Medically Fragile Infant

April 13, 2022 12:15 pm

Presentation Summary

This lightning talk will consists of education about the discrete swallow protocol in the NICU and its use to establish functional feeding skills with safe, supported, experience-based opportunities to learn suck-swallow-breath coordination. Presenters will discuss a quality improvement project aimed at defining the population to assist their unit in advocating for supportive pre-feeding practices.

Learning Objective

Participants will understand the purpose and method of the discrete swallow initiative to be used with the medically fragile infant.


  • Emily Rocha

    Emily Rocha OTD, OTR/L, CSRS

    Emily Rocha is an occupational therapist. She graduated with her doctorate in May 2022 from Northern Arizona University, Phoenix Biomedical Campus. She was first introduced to the profession through working with kids with special needs, seeing the positive impact it had on the children and their families. After exploring the career further, Emily realized how much it was for her. Her goal is to help people increase quality of life and be able to pursue their passions. She completed her capstone in the NICU, focusing on feeding and swallowing, following a discrete swallow protocol created by her mentor Cuyler Romeo. Emily now works with both babies and adults in the hospital setting. Aside from work, she likes to work out, swim, shop, watch movies, and be with friends and family.

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  • Cuyler Romeo

    Cuyler Romeo M.O.T., OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC

    Occupational Therapist and Pediatric Feeding Specialist Cuyler Romeo’s extensive leadership and clinical experience are instrumental in the execution and management of Feeding Matters’ strategic initiatives. In partnership with the CEO, Jaclyn Pederson, Cuyler collaborates with constituents to identify, track, and assess innovative approaches to the PFD system of care. Cuyler also facilitates strategic partnerships with select professional associations including the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Prior to joining Feeding Matters, Cuyler served as a founding partner of Mealtime Connections, LLC, and gained valuable insight on funding trends and industry implications as the director of clinical innovations at Therapy 2000. She is currently a treating clinician in Banner-University Medical Center’s NICU and works to advance the feeding skill domain by facilitating AOTA’s mealtime Occupations: Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing Community of Practice.

    Financial: Cuyler Romeo receives a salary from Feeding Matters and hourly compensation from Banner University Medical Center Tucson.​

    Nonfinancial: Cuyler Romeo is the lead facilitator for AOTA’s Mealtime Occupation: Feeding, Eating and Swallowing Community of Practice. She serves on the Board of Directors and the Certification Committee for the Institute of Perception-Action Approach. She is a member of AOTA, ArizOTA, and IAPFS.

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