St. Mary's Feeding Disorders Team
Medical oversight for the Pediatric Feeding Team is provided by Maria Del Rio Hoover, MD. Patients in the Feeding Program may also be receiving medical care from one of the pediatric subspecialists at the Center for Children. Patients participating in the program needing pediatrician services may have access to services from an onsite pediatrician and the afterhours program.
The team provides regular communication with the child's primary care physician and/or subspecialists already involved in the child's care.
The nutrition staff consists of registered dieticians. The dieticians are responsible for closely monitoring the nutritional status of children involved in the day patient, outpatient and clinic aspects of the program. The dieticians evaluate the daily caloric intake for intensive day patients and analyze daily food diaries provided by outpatients. The dietician makes recommendations and discusses the needed changes with the feeding team and caregivers.
The psychology staff consists of licensed clinical psychologists and their students - undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral. The psychologists take part in day patient, outpatient and clinical assessments to determine psychological and behavioral feeding needs. The psychologists work directly with the rest of the team to assess, develop and supervise behavioral interventions designed to improve children's eating. The psychology staff also provides recommendations and support to parents in and outside of treatment sessions focusing on providing behavioral rationale of the interventions, recommendations to increase behavior change and support to parents in facing the challenges feeding issues create.
Speech and Occupational Therapists
Speech language pathologists occupational therapists and certified occupational therapy assistants bring with them their discipline-specific skill and knowledge, as well as specialized, specialty training in unique sensory and oral motor skill-based techniques for pediatric feeding disorders. These therapists work with the children collaboratively utilizing oral-motor assessment and intervention, swallow assessment and facilitation, spoon placement and positioning, assessment of seating and continual evaluation of progress along the feeding development continuum. They are responsible for developing the treatment plans with the psychology staff to promote the children's feeding abilities to their full potential.
The feeding techs are an integral part of the team who complete many different tasks. Technicians are trained to assist therapists with reinforcement, data taking, weighing foods, as well as set up/clean up of treatment sessions. They are also responsible for shopping for and preparing the daily food requirements of day program children, as well as educating the parents and caregivers on various styles of food preparation. Other responsibilities include entering the feeding program data, taking care of all ordering and inventory needs and weighing and measuring kids.
In addition to the psychologists, the feeding program also has a licensed clinical social worker who serves as a family advocate for the Center for Children. Support to parents focuses on living with the challenges of dealing with daily feeding issues and the impact on the family. Education focuses on aspects of feeding stress and handling common childhood issues.
The family advocate provides information about community resources that may benefit family members in caring for a child with special needs. Caregivers from outside the local area needing lodging while participating in the feeding program can contact the family advocate for recommendations.