Pediatric Feeding & Swallowing Therapy

Your child can master the skills they need to properly eat and drink. With pediatric feeding and swallowing therapy done the More to Say way, your child will learn how to enjoy their meals. Our pediatric therapists in Oxford, CT, and Branford, CT, have helped the children in our community overcome many feeding troubles, including:

With our play-based and holistic therapy techniques, your child can learn how to successfully feed and swallow, improve their nutrition, and develop a great relationship with food. Click the button below to schedule your free phone consultation today!

How Can Pediatric Feeding & Swallowing Therapy Address Your Child’s Mealtime Struggles?

It takes a lot of skill to properly eat and drink. Not only are there different oral motor and coordination skills involved with chewing and swallowing, but some children experience sensory issues that present even more of a challenge come mealtime.

Your child’s evaluation will tell us exactly which areas of eating and drinking they need help with so we can create a program tailored to their specific needs. We address the following areas at both our Branford, CT, and Oxford, CT, pediatric therapy clinics:

Pediatric Therapy for Feeding

Feeding therapy will help your child learn how to correctly use their oral muscles to eat and drink. This enables them to be less stressed about mealtimes, which means your family gets to enjoy each other’s company instead of battling over food. Your child may need a feeding therapy evaluation if they struggle with:

Pediatric Therapy for Swallowing

Once your child gets the food or drink into their mouth, they need to be able to swallow it! Swallowing therapy teaches your child better control of their oral and throat muscles so they can enjoy their food and maintain good nutrition. Your child may need a swallowing therapy evaluation if they struggle with:

Pediatric Therapy for Picky Eating

If your child is an extreme picky eater, they may be experiencing behavioral troubles with food. Children who have the difficulties listed above with feeding and swallowing can develop an aversion to food due to the negative association: i.e., “If I eat this, I will choke, and I don’t like that feeling.”

Your child may also avoid foods due to sensory difficulties. Certain textures, colors, smells, and other qualities of food can be overwhelming; but if it’s not handled, your child will actively avoid trying new foods, eating Nutritious foods, etc. Thankfully, pediatric therapy done the More to Say way will empower your child to overcome these troubles.

Your child may need a feeding and swallowing therapy evaluation if they tend to:

Pediatric Feeding Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

Starting feeding therapy for your child is a great first step toward addressing eating difficulties and ensuring their overall well-being. You should start by talking to your child’s pediatrician or a feeding therapist. Share your concerns about their eating habits, food aversions, or feeding challenges. If the healthcare provider deems feeding therapy is necessary, they’ll typically provide you with a referral to a speech therapist or occupational therapist who specializes in feeding. 


On your child’s first meeting with their feeding therapist, they’ll complete a comprehensive assessment. The therapist typically observes your child’s eating habits, so they can discover specific challenges and assess overall oral motor skills. Often, you’ll work in collaboration with the therapist to set clear and achievable goals. From increasing food variety to improving self-feeding skills, your child’s feeding therapist can address sensory issues related to food. Then, you’ll schedule regular therapy sessions to help your child learn healthier eating habits and overcome feeding challenges.

If your child consistently struggles with eating, it may be time to consider feeding therapy. Pay close attention to your child’s eating habits and development and watch for these signs: 

  • Limited Food Choices: If your child only eats a very narrow range of food and refuses most others, it could be a sign of feeding challenges. Your child’s feeding therapist can help expand their palate.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Noticing your child frequently choking or gagging during meals, or maybe they’re having trouble managing different food textures? It’s often a red flag for feeding difficulties. 
  • Slow Growth: If your child can’t maintain a healthy weight, or if they’re not gaining weight appropriately, feeding difficulties could be to blame. Your child’s feeding therapist can use strategies to boost their nutritional intake.
  • Mealtime Tantrums: If your child is fussy or throws tantrums during mealtimes, it’s often a sign of feeding issues. These behaviors may come from eating-related discomfort or anxiety, which therapy can help address.

As always, trust your parental instincts. Consult your child’s pediatrician or a feeding therapist if you’re worried about their eating habits and growth.

If eating is a challenge for your child, pediatric feeding therapy can help. It offers a multitude of benefits to those who struggle with eating and swallowing. Some key advantages are:

  • Improved Nutrition: Feeding therapy teaches children to eat and enjoy a wider variety of foods. It ensures your child receives the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development.
  • Better Weight Management: Most children living with feeding challenges struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Feeding therapy helps these kids achieve and maintain a healthy, balanced weight.
  • Safer Swallowing: While swallowing seems like a reflex, children and adults alike can struggle with this simple motor skill for various reasons. Feeding therapy encourages safe swallowing, teaching kids how to eat and drink without the risk of choking.
  • Enhanced Eating Skills: Feeding therapy helps kids hone essential eating skills. Everything from chewing and biting to manipulating food can improve, so children are well-equipped to eat independently.
  • Reduced Food Aversion: Many kids live with food aversions and related sensory issues. Feeding therapy helps kids overcome these aversions, so mealtime is less stressful for kids and parents alike.
  • Better Quality of Life: Eating is an essential and even enjoyable part of life. Kids who can eat comfortably and confidently have a better overall quality of life. With feeding therapy, kids can overcome eating challenges and participate in social activities involving food without stress.

Many insurance plans—including both private and public—cover pediatric feeding therapy. It’s important to check with your specific provider to understand the details of your coverage. Some policies may have certain requirements or limitations for coverage. For example, you may need a referral from a healthcare provider, or the therapy must be deemed a medical necessity.

The best way to get started is to contact your insurance company and learn about coverage for pediatric feeding therapy. Make sure to ask about all required documentation and referrals. If for any reason your insurance doesn’t cover pediatric feeding therapy, you may have other options. Some clinics offer payment plans or sliding scale fees based on income. There are also nonprofits and grants that may provide financial assistance, too. Make sure to advocate for your child’s needs and know there are solutions available to ensure they get quality care.

Parents play a critical role in pediatric feeding therapy. Here’s how parents can actively contribute to their child’s progress in a positive, supportive way:

  • Teamwork: Parents are an essential part of the therapy team. Working hand-in-hand with therapists, dietitians, and other professionals, parents are a vital link in understanding and addressing their child’s feeding challenges.
  • Observation: Parents know their kids best. They’re the most insightful observers of their child’s behavior and preferences. Parents should observe and share key insights about their child’s eating habits, triggers for food aversions, and any other mealtime concerns.
  • Communication: Parents should maintain an open line of communication with the therapy team. They should frequently discuss changes, progress, and setbacks in the process. Using these insights, therapists can adjust strategies as needed.
  • Consistency: Pediatric feeding therapy is only successful if your child implements the techniques they’ve learned. Parents can continue the hard work done each session by following all recommended mealtime routines, strategies, and exercises.
  • Modeling: One of the best ways parents can help children through feeding therapy is by setting a good example. Always make sure to monitor healthy eating behaviors. Children often mimic what they see, so eating a variety of foods and being relaxed at mealtimes can be a big help.

Parents shouldn’t be spectators in pediatric feeding therapy. They should be active participants. Working together with a dedicated therapy team, parents can empower their child to build a positive relationship with food.

Schedule Your Child's Appointment Today

Are you worried about your child’s speech or language skills? Fill out the form below or call us at (203) 828-6790 to schedule a pediatric feeding and swallowing evaluation at our Branford, CT, or Oxford, CT, clinic today!