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Pediatric Feeding Therapy

Professionally reviewed by Amanda Kleckner, PT, DPT, administrative director of pediatrics, on 02/08/2022.


Good Shepherd Pediatrics assesses and cares for medically fragile newborns and children who have feeding and/or swallowing difficulties that prevent them from meeting their nutritional needs.

Many of our pediatric feeding patients struggle with eating or drinking, or they weigh less or gain weight at a slower rate than is typical for their age. We also support children who are ready to make the transition from tube feeding to eating by mouth.

Our feeding therapy team provides care for newborns and children ages 1 through 21.

Why Choose Good Shepherd Pediatrics’ Feeding Therapy Services?

Our pediatric feeding services are designed to:

  • Employ a bio-behavioral model that addresses the unique physical, physiological, social and environmental factors contributing to feeding issues — all led by our medical specialists with advanced clinical training in feeding
  • Lead multiple daily feeding opportunities for training and practice
  • Utilize leading-edge rehabilitation technology, including VitalStim and NTrainer System®
  • Work and communicate closely with parents/caregivers to ensure an effective transition to home and community

Care Options for Pediatric Feeding Disorders

Our feeding experts lead specialized inpatient and outpatient pediatric programs to support you and your child depending on their specific feeding disorder, including:

  • Difficulty with weight gain
  • Picky eating
  • Trouble with breast or bottle feeding
  • Choking on food
  • Coughing when swallowing
  • Avoiding certain tastes and textures
  • Challenges with self-feeding

Kimberly Kuchinski, MD, MPH

Kimberly Kuchinski, MD, MPH, is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician (physiatry) and Medical Director, Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network.

At Good Shepherd Pediatrics, Dr. Kuchinski specializes in pediatric rehabilitation and provides inpatient and outpatient care. Her expertise includes spasticity management, brain injury, feeding difficulties, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and concussion.

Inpatient Pediatric Feeding Program

Good Shepherd Pediatrics Feeding Program helps children with feeding, chewing and swallowing issues that may be the result of medical, physical or cognitive disorders. For example, if children have demonstrated poor progress with outpatient feeding treatments, they may benefit from an intensive inpatient admission. The goal is to improve feeding skills to minimize reliance on tube feedings and achieve full oral intake when possible.

“After a few days, everything started to change and improve. … One of the things that sets Good Shepherd apart is that they take a comprehensive approach and treat the whole patient.”

Heather G., mom of Good Shepherd Pediatrics’ feeding patient

Pediatric Feeding Program Services

  • Pediatric physiatrist and pediatric hospitalist
  • Nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Care management
  • Neuropsychology
  • Counseling
  • Dietary

Inpatient Pediatric Feeding Program Location

Good Shepherd Pediatrics offers an inpatient pediatric feeding program located in Bethlehem, PA.

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Emily Howatt Pliskatt Pediatric Unit

We are the only provider in the region offering inpatient rehabilitation with specialized programs to treat children with complex medical and congenital conditions.

The physicians, nurses and therapists at the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit provide compassionate rehabilitation care to children up to age 21.

Admissions:
For more information, contact the Pediatric Unit’s Admissions team at 484-788-5492.

Address:
2855 Schoenersville Road
Bethlehem, PA 18017

Phone: 610-807-4200
Fax: 610-807-4205

Outpatient Pediatric Feeding Therapy

When you are worried about your child’s ability to eat, you want help fast. Good Shepherd can help by providing an evaluation with an experienced feeding therapist.

Outpatient Fast Track Feeding Program

Good Shepherd’s Fast Track Feeding Program ensures:

  • An initial phone consultation with a feeding team representative
  • An in-person evaluation with Good Shepherd’s expert feeding team

Our feeding team, which includes a pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, speech therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and social workers, provides a comprehensive assessment of your child’s feeding, developmental and medical histories. Treatment plans are customized for each family’s unique needs.

The feeding team works closely with your child’s pediatrician and other medical specialists.

Early Intervention, outpatient and inpatient feeding therapy services are available for children from birth to 21 years of age.

Does My Child Have a Feeding Problem?

View/download this checklist to help understand if your child can benefit from a feeding evaluation.

Tips to Help Picky Eaters

Get kids involved in cooking
Children as young as one enjoy helping to add ingredients into a recipe. Kids take pride in what they have helped to make, which can encourage them to try different foods.

kid girl and mother eating healthy food vegetables

Keep it positive
Imagine how you would feel if someone tried a food in front of you and said, “Gross!” You might not want to try it either. Kids look to parents first for their reaction and learn from you. Try saying, “This is sweet/sour,” or “This food tastes like __.” when trying foods and describing them.

Encourage family meals
Kids are exposed to many different smells and sights of food by seeing what the family is eating. This setting is another great place to model eating foods for your child.

Explore food
If your child is scared to try a new food, have them smell, touch or lick it. Sometimes making the challenge easier will get children to try new foods.

(Adapted with Copyright Permission from Dr. Kay Toomey’s SOS Approach to Feeding program – www.sosapproach.com)

Outpatient Feeding Therapy Locations

Good Shepherd Pediatrics offers pediatric feeding therapy at a number of our outpatient locations. Call 1-888-44-REHAB to schedule an appointment with one of our feeding therapy experts.

Contact Us to Get Started

To request a pediatric feeding disorder evaluation for your child, call 1-888-44-REHAB or fill out the form below.

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