Comprehensive Program for Feeding Disorders - FAQs

Pediatric feeding disorders are caused by a number of direct and indirect factors, including medical, oral-motor, sensory, appetite, and behavior problems. Children with feeding disorders and their families need a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and integrated approach to assessment and intervention that is individually tailored to the unique needs of each child and his or her family.

The program at Mt. Washington focuses on a coordinated and integrated team approach, including parent/caregivers as team members involved in decision-making as well as employing a number of different treatment approaches based on the needs of each child and family. As a part of the team process, parents/caregivers help prioritize and set goals and objectives for their child.

As a pediatric rehabilitation hospital, we place great emphasis on the development of appropriate feeding treatment plans and their follow-through, as well as ensuring smooth transitions between inpatient and outpatient programs. We are involved in program analysis and education; outcomes of current research continually inform our efforts.

Do you require that parents/caregivers stay with their children all day in the feeding day program?

We do not require that parents/caregivers stay all day. It is necessary that parents/caregivers participate in the first few days of the program while the child is adjusting, and it is beneficial that you observe at least one feeding session per day. During the 5th and 6th weeks of the feeding program, it is expected that parents participate in 1-2 feeding sessions per day, as the last 1-2 weeks focus on parent training and transitioning the child to his or her home environment. Parent/caregiver involvement is crucial to the success of each child's stay in the feeding program.

How long will my child be in the feeding day program?

On average, the feeding day treatment program lasts 6 weeks; however, this can change depending on the child's progress. Other factors such as insurance authorization or the child's medical status may impact the length of stay. Upon completion of the 6 week program, all children are followed by the feeding team for two years or as long as necessary. Outpatient visits are also part of the two year follow-up care plan.

If I am coming from out of town, what accommodations can be made?

Families who are from out of town have often used the local Ronald McDonald House. We would be more than happy to make a referral for you to use this facility as it is only a short 10-minute drive from our hospital. This facility can also provide shuttle service to and from the hospital.

We also have a list of area hotels that can provide accommodations for you and your family. Please speak with our Program Coordinator for further information.

Will my insurance cover the feeding day treatment program?

Each insurance company is different. Our authorization department will assist families with determining the cost of the feeding day program. We cannot control co-pays and deductibles.

How do I make an appointment if my pediatrician or I suspect my child has a feeding problem?

To schedule an evaluation in our Feeding Clinic, please call the intake coordinator at 410-578-5250. Any general questions about the day program or our evaluation clinic can be answered through this line as well.

Do you use force feeding?

No. The techniques that are used in feeding sessions are developed by occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and psychologists. The therapists focus on each child's strengths, using positive reinforcement to improve their skills. Our goal is for mealtime to be pleasant and enjoyable for the child, while meeting therapeutic goals.

Will my child's home therapists, grandparents, or daycare providers be able to feed my child upon completion of the feeding day program?

We encourage anyone who feeds the child to participate in caregiver training. It is important that every person who feeds your child be consistent and follow the same feeding protocol. If you are interested in having someone come in for caregiver training, please advise the Program Coordinator or your child's primary therapist in advance.

Who is part of your feeding team?

Our interdisciplinary feeding team consists of specialists from the following fields: nurse practitioners, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric psychology, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, nutrition, and social work/care management. The most important member of the team is the family. Family participation in training sessions is critical to the success of the program.

How do I contact the feeding day program?