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Upstate worker assisting the feeding of a child

Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Our mission is to help support children and their families in having more positive interactions with mealtimes. While eating is a critical component of healthy growth and development, it can sometimes be challenging for some children to eat enough to meet their caloric and/or nutritional needs. These challenges can be a great source of stress for families and caregivers.

Our program provides assessment and treatment of a variety of feeding challenges displayed by children both with and without developmental disabilities including:

  • Highly restricted or limited food consumption (i.e., fewer than 12 foods)
    • Restriction based on food feature (e.g., color, brand), type (e.g., food group), or texture
  • Feeding tube dependence (e.g., nasogastric, gastrostomy)
  • Dependence on supplemental formulas
  • Inappropriate mealtime behaviors (e.g., tantrums, refusal)
  • Poor weight gain of failure to thrive
  • Oral-motor or self-feeding skill deficits

We provide evidence-based, behavioral treatment for children from birth up to 21 years. With a team of highly dedicated behavior analysts and behavioral psychologists, we aim to develop a structured meal plan designed to meet each child’s and family’s needs. We use scientifically supported approaches when assessing the reason(s) for children’s inappropriate mealtime behaviors as well as implementing strategies to work toward individualized goals. After we have found an effective plan to achieve each child’s goals, we train their caregiver(s) to help carry over the gains made in our clinic to their home and community. We will continue to support families during the transition to discharge using in-home or telemedicine visits.

We require all children to obtain medical clearance from Upstate’s pediatric gastroenterology team prior to enrolling in our program.