We provide direct feeding therapy designed to meet your child’s individual needs and work closely with you, your pediatrician and any other team members that may be involved. We help families understand problems in feeding and swallowing and help to develop and implement a treatment plan.

Children with feeding and swallowing problems can have a variety of symptoms and possible causes. Not all symptoms are present in every child and you may or may not know the cause of the problem.

You may see some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • refusal of foods or liquids
  • difficulty with a variety of textures of flavors (e.g., gags with certain foods or prefers crunchy or spicy)
  • takes longer to eat than others his/her age
  • difficulty chewing
  • coughing, gagging or vomiting during meals
  • excessive drooling
  • food/liquid coming out of the mouth or nose
  • change in voice quality when eating/drinking (gurgly, hoarse, or breathy)
  • history of pneumonia or respiratory infections
  • less than normal weight gain or growth


Some of the possible causes of feeding and swallowing disorders in children include:

  • multiple medical problems
  • autism
  • nervous system disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy, meningitis, encephalopathy)
  • gastrointestinal conditions
  • prematurity
  • cleft lip and/or palate
  • head and neck abnormalities
  • muscle weakness

If your child has feeding difficulties, he/she may be at risk for:

  • dehydration or poor nutrition
  • food or liquid entering the airway, also called aspiration or penetration
  • pneumonia or upper respiratory infections
  • embarrassment or isolation in social situations involving eating

Information for this page has been adapted from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website. Please visit their page on Feeding and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia) in Children.

Feeding and Swalling Disorders in Children


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