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Intensive Feeding Program
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Intensive Feeding Program

Feeding Problems in Childhood
Reports suggest that feeding problems are the third most common concern expressed by parents during visits with pediatricians. In fact, research indicates that between 25% and 45% of all children will experience some form of a feeding problem during the course of their lifetime, ranging from having an overly restricted diet to difficulty transitioning to developmentally-appropriate oral feeding patterns. These percentages increase in developmentally-delayed children, with some estimates suggesting up to 80% of children with various developmental concerns experience significant feeding challenges. Medical conditions, especially those that resulted in oral feeding difficulties during infancy, are also frequently associated with feeding concerns during childhood. Proper nutrition is vital in order for children to reach developmental milestones. Without adequate nutrition, children are more vulnerable to a range of conditions and diseases. Furthermore, pediatric feeding difficulties often result in negative effects on not just the child, but also his or her family's functioning.

The Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Intensive Feeding Program
As one of only a few intensive feeding programs in the United States, and the first and only program of its kind in Michigan, the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Intensive Feeding Program provides services to address an array of feeding challenges including, but not limited to:

  • Total food refusal
  • Dependency on a feeding tube
  • Food tolerance difficulties
  • Restricted eating patterns
  • Difficulty transitioning to age-appropriate textures
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Food allergies
  • These problems are often associated with one or more of the following medical or developmental conditions/diagnoses:

  • Gastroesophagela reflux disease (GERD)
  • Failure to thrive
  • Abdominal malformations
  • Oral aversion
  • Down syndrome
  • GI dysmotility (example: constipation, delayed gastric emptying)
  • Behavioral challenges
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Developmental delays/disabilities

    Collaborative Treatment Approach
  • Using a systematic and evidence-based approach, our multidisciiplinary team collaborates with families to improve their children's eating outcomes. Our program's goal is to help children achieve developmentally-appropriate feeding and drinking patterns during treatment and to educate parents and caregivers on how best to sustain gains and continue progress at home.