Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program

Many children have problems with eating enough or with eating the right foods. The Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Golisano Children’s Hospital provides evaluation and treatment for children with a range of serious feeding problems.

Common Feeding Problems Treated Include

  • boy eating apple with friendsEating a very small number of foods
  • Eating only a few textures of foods (such as crunchy foods or smooth foods)
  • Refusing certain types of foods  (fruits or vegetables)
  • Refusing liquids
  • Disruptive mealtime behavior (tantrums, refusing to sit at the table, spitting out food)

Associated Concerns

Many children with feeding disorders also have other health or developmental challenges. Our team is prepared to work with these children. We understand the special issues children and families face when a child has a developmental delay or a special health care need. We often work with children who have:

  • Developmental delays
  • Developmental disabilities (such as autism, Down Syndrome, or cerebral palsy)
  • Chronic illnesses (such as heart problems or Cystic Fibrosis)
  • Gastrointestinal problems (Such as gastroesophageal reflux, constipation, or esophagitis)
  • A history of long hospitalizations or many medical procedures

Who Might Benefit From This Program

In general, the children who benefit the most from those program are:

  • 1-10 years old
  • Eat only a small number of foods
  • Refuse liquids or other age appropriate types of foods
  • Have fear of trying new foods
  • Refuse higher textured food as they move from infancy to toddlerhood
  • Have disruptive meal time behaviors
  • Have parents or caregivers who want to learn how to improve their child's eating

Who Will Not Benefit From This Program

  • Children with mental health concerns not limited to just feeding
  • Children with anorexia or bulimia
  • Children with serious aggression or self-injury behavior

What Is Done To Help With Feeding

Step 1: Initial assessment:

a. The parent and child meet with a team of experts in childhood feeding problems.  This may include:

  • Feeding psychologist
  • Registered dietitian
  • Speech-language pathologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Social worker 
  • Physician or Nurse Practitioner with expertise in Developmental Pediatrics and/or Pediatric Gastroenterology.

b.  Parent completes a 3 day food diary. The food diary is used to check the current diet and know if the child is getting needed calories, vitamins, and nutrients. 
c. The team talks to the family to learn about home routines and family concerns.
d. The team may observe the child eating.

Step 2: Treatment plan

Based on the initial assessment, the team will make recommendations about the type, frequency and length of treatment.  Treatment: child and family meet with needed professionals on a regular basis.  Family is taught:

  • Strategies to increase acceptance of new foods
  • Ways to change  foods to meet nutrition goals.
  • Mealtime structure and schedule
  • Limit setting and ignoring
  • Exercises to help with oral skills
  • Ways to help the child learn self-feeding
  • Ways to improve child’s nutrition

Between sessions, families are given things to try at home and are asked to monitor the child’s progress.


Feeding therapy may be covered by some insurances.  We can provide you with the usual codes used so that you can talk with your insurance company to learn what services are covered. Some services are also available for self-pay

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Golisano Children's Hospital Development

Contact Us

Golisano Children’s Hospital
Box 671
601 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14642

Phone: (585) 275-2986
Fax: (585) 275-3366

Directions to the Kirch Clinical Offices

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