Pediatric Feeding Program Patients

Who should be referred to the Feeding Disorders Program?

Feeding problems affect approximately 25 - 40% of children and up to 80% of children with developmental disabilities.  A feeding disorder can include problems such as:

  • Food refusal
  • Selectivity
  • Inability to consume adequate calories
  • Inability to consume an age-appropriate diet due to skill, sensory, medial and/or behavioral difficulties 

Program Candidates

Those who may benefit from St. Mary's Feeding Disorders Program include children and babies with:

  • Behavior problems during meals like spitting out food, tantrums and inability to sit for meals
  • Delay in meeting oral development milestones
  • Difficulty increasing food textures
  • Extreme pickiness that lasts for longer than a few weeks
  • Failure to thrive – the inability of a child to consume sufficient nutrition
  • Feeding tube dependence
  • Food aversion – refusal of food and/or drink
  • History of difficulty feeding
  • Poor weight gain
  • Problems with gagging and/or vomiting

Specific Issues of Program Candidates

  • Food/drink refusal; limited volume of intake, sleep drinking, bottle aversion
  • Inability to chew; swallow; parking/holding food
  • Frequent expelling or spitting out due to aversion or oral motor skills deficits
  • Recurrent gagging; vomiting
  • Food or swallowing phobias
  • Food selectivity by type, texture, flavor
  • Inability to transition to baby foods, textured foods or table foods
  • Mealtime behavior problems (tantrums, lengthy meals, refusal to sit/come to the table
  • Failure to thrive or unable to gain proper weight for age
  • Tube-dependent (nasogastric, gastrostomy tubes or TPN)

Medical Diagnoses & Conditions

Medical diagnoses & conditions which can lead to feeding issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Autism
  • Cardiac Conditions
  • Cranio-Facial anomalies
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dysphagia
  • Failure to thrive
  • Food allergy
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (emesis)
  • Genetic syndromes
  • Human immune deficiency virus
  • Reactive airway disease and pulmonary conditions
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Oral-motor dysfunction
  • Prematurity
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Status post organ transplant

Virtual Tour

Check out our Feeding Clinic Virtual Tour!

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Contact Us

For questions and assistance, contact the Resource Center at
812.485.7425

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