The CLIU #21 Feeding Team provides specialized evaluation and intervention for children with documented or suspected difficulties with safe and effective eating at home and school. The primary goal of the feeding team is to ensure safe nutrition and hydration to students during school hours, as outlined by information obtained from an informal feeding screening and/or feeding evaluation and guidelines provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
The primary case managers of the feeding team consist of a speech language pathologist and an occupational therapist with expertise in sensory/oral motor difficulties and dysphagia (swallowing disorder). The feeding team collaborates with school based team members to provide interdisciplinary care for each student. Other members of the team include parents, classroom teachers/paraprofessionals, therapists, psychologists, social workers, school nurses and administrators. Medical professionals are also considered integral members of the feeding evaluation process.
The feeding team services include an initial screening to identify students at risk for feeding/swallowing difficulties and/or the possible need for further evaluation. General safe feeding strategies may be introduced during the screening process and implemented by IEP team members.
The feeding team evaluation includes a thorough assessment incorporating a review of the student's feeding history, both at home and in school. Other components of assessment include motor planning, positioning and seating, oral-motor abilities, sensory processing, respiration and digestion/nutrition. The evaluation is then followed by a detailed report, development of feeding/emergency plans, communication with family/caregivers and educational team members, as well as ongoing therapeutic intervention.
What is the difference between an
Informal Feeding Screening and a Feeding Evaluation?
An Informal Feeding Screening is a requested observation of a student during normal/routine classroom activities. It does not involve altering any condition for the purpose of the screening. Doing anything different with the student that the student would not normally be doing at the time of the observations for purposes of the screening constitutes an evaluation. An informal feeding screening results in general feeding recommendations for the student based on the observation by the feeding team and guidelines provided by ASHA.
A Feeding Evaluation would entail altering the environment and/or conditions to assess the student’s ability to take in nutrition.
This could include trialing various safe feeding techniques and/or use of adaptive equipment during a naturally occurring meal/snack; modifying liquids and food to trial; modifying positioning and adjusting sensory input to facilitate improved feeding/swallowing skills.
How might children and families benefit?
- Improved safety and enjoyment when eating and drinking at home
- Increased participation in social/mealtime activities
- Improved social skill development and peer interaction
- Improved overall health and development
Who may be referred to
the feeding team?
Children with disabilities who:
- Exhibit difficulty with chewing and/or swallowing food or liquids in a safe, effective, and timely manner
- Show evidence of choking, coughing, or drooling
- Display the potential to eat and/or drink by mouth
- Demonstrate nutritional concerns related to limited food/liquid intake
- Exhibit behavioral components of eating, which may include: food refusal, problems with attention and focus, food texture issues and/or food selectivity concerns