Feeding evaluations are performed by a multidisciplinary team usually consisting of a speech-language pathologist and an occupational therapist. Evaluations may also include a consultation or referral to a dietitian, psychologist, lactation consultant, social worker, or other specialist.
Feeding and swallowing evaluation
- The feeding and swallowing evaluation process takes from one to three hours. It is preferred that a child be somewhat hungry in preparation for the evaluation.
- The feeding team will obtain an extensive medical, developmental, and feeding history that includes valuable input from the parent or primary caregiver. As part of the history, a 2-3 day food diary should be brought to the evaluation for the therapists to review. A home video of a typical mealtime can also be helpful.
- A brief oral and physical exam will be performed on the child. Then the feeding team observes the parent/caregiver feeding the child as would be done at home. Any cups, spoons or bottles used at home, as well as a small portion of a few favorite and a few challenging foods should be brought to the evaluation.
- After the feeding evaluation, it will be determined whether a swallow study is required. If a swallow study is needed, this generally occurs immediately following the feeding evaluation.
- The feeding team will work with the family to develop strategies and recommendations for improving a child’s feeding skills.