Feeding and Swallowing Program | Services We Provide

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Contact the Feeding and Swallowing Program

Inpatient services

We offer services to inpatients at Boston Children’s Hospital who have feeding and swallowing difficulties.  The speech-language pathologists in the Feeding and Swallowing Program work closely with medical, surgical, nursing, and other allied health professionals, as well as with families, to achieve the best outcomes possible for our patients.  

Outpatient services

We offer outpatient feeding and swallowing services in our main campus in the Boston Longwood Medical Area. We are also providing services in our Waltham and Weymouth locations.

The following services are available outpatient:

Clinical Feeding Evaluations:

Click to download our intake form

During a clinical feeding evaluation, the feeding therapist will generally observe your child eating and drinking to learn about their feeding and swallowing skills.  The feeding therapist may ask questions about your child’s feeding, medical, and developmental history, any current challenges or difficulties related to feeding and feeding behaviors, your child’s feeding skills, and your child’s response to new strategies, techniques, and/or feeding equipment.

The following skills may be observed during a clinical feeding evaluation:

  • Breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding
  • Cup drinking
  • Spoon-feeding
  • Chewing development
  • Solid food texture progression
  • Swallowing safety

The following areas may also be assessed during a clinical feeding evaluation:  

  • Oral mechanism examination
  • Oral reflexes
  • Oral motor skills for feeding
  • Sensory-based feeding responses
  • Behaviorally-based feeding responses

Swallowing skills and airway protection during swallowing

Individual/Group Feeding Therapy:

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We provide short-term individual feeding therapy and group feeding therapy.  The feeding therapist who performs the initial evaluation can help you and your family to decide which type of feeding therapy will be most beneficial for your child.  

Individual and/or group feeding therapy may focus on:

  • Expanding the range of foods in your child’s diet
  • Expanding the variety of textures of food in your child’s diet
  • Improving oral motor skills for chewing, spoon-feeding, cup drinking, etc.
  • Improving feeding skills to assist with weaning from formula and/or tube feeds onto a solid diet
  • Decrease gagging
  • Decreasing oral sensory defensiveness and oral aversion
  • Decreasing fussy and picky eating
  • Reducing mealtime disturbances and stress

Tube weaning (transitioning from tube feeds to oral feeds)

Instrumental Swallowing Assessment :( Modified Barium Swallow Studies (MBS) and Fiberoptic )

In collaboration with the Radiology Department we offer dynamic x-ray swallowing assessments at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston.  For more information about Modified Barium Swallow studies, please click on this link:  Attach link to “Family Education Sheet” on MBS here.


Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES): 

In collaboration with physicians in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement, we offer dynamic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing.   Please see this link for more information about pediatric Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES).

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We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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