Top Questions New Pediatric Feeding Therapist Have

How do I get started as a pediatric feeding therapist?

So many have this question and we are glad you asked! Networking in your area is a great place to begin. Once you have the training, you need to let other professionals in your area know that you are offering pediatric feeding therapy services. Get to know your local pediatricians, lactation consultants, pediatric physical therapists, occupational therapists, body workers, release providers, anyone who is also working with pediatric patients and makes referrals for feeding therapy. 

Am I competent enough to offer pediatric feeding therapy?

Have you taken a comprehensive feeding therapy course that includes normal growth and development as it relates to feeding therapy as well as disordered feeding skills? Do you know where to begin when it comes to assessment and treatment of pediatric feeding disorders? If this is a yes, then you are READY to begin! You’ve got the skills necessary to be a successful pediatric feeding therapist. We all have to start somewhere…

Will I be able to help patients in feeding therapy?

The answer to this question comes from your evaluation, knowing your patients/caregivers goals, your skill set, and what you’ve been trained in. If you are trained in how to assess and treat the skills a patient needs to address in therapy and the child does not have a diagnosis that inhibits progress, prognosis is favorable. That said, we do not have a crystal ball and do not know the outcome of therapy before we begin. Get comfortable including the caregiver/patient in the therapeutic process and check in with them regularly on how things are going and the goals they are seeking to address in your time together. This is a tip that can take you far in *any* therapeutic relationship and setting. 

Will I be confident to know if it’s really a tongue/lip tie?

This is an important question to address. Without proper training in tongue and lip ties, there is not a way to be sure. In Feed The Peds®, we include a module on tethered oral tissues and even myo! With our comprehensive education, you will have the information needed to grow your skills to be confident in identifying tongue and lip ties.

It’s also important to collaborate with release providers in your area so that you find who you work well with and who is offering complete releases and is identifying all lip & tongue ties, including upper and lower lip ties and posterior tongue ties. 

Will I cause the child to choke or vomit during therapy? 

Great question. First we need to address gagging vs. choking. Gagging is a normal physiological response the body makes when food travels anterior-posterior in the oral cavity too quickly, isn’t chewed into small enough pieces, or for another reason is not going down correctly. Gagging is a protective mechanism so that you DO NOT choke! During Feed The Peds® training, we discuss the differences between choking and gagging so that you can spot the difference. 

As a feeding therapist, your goal will be to address and help the client to remediate and build skills that will allow them to chew and swallow successfully. Once you have built up the foundation, choking and vomiting will not be a normal occurrence because they have the skills needed to chew and swallow correctly!

Can I be a successful business owner by niching down and offering feeding therapy services exclusively?

There are a few factors that are key elements to every successful business owner. While we can not predict your success, we can tell you that niching down into one area of expertise is a tried and true way to grow your business. By offering feeding therapy services exclusively, you are establishing yourself as a specialist in your area. Your continuing education in feeding therapy will only grow your knowledge, skill set, and ability to provide quality services. There are feeding therapy clinics around the U.S. that are very successful, you can be too!  That said, while there are pediatric feeding clinics around the U.S., there are not nearly enough feeding therapists to provide services to all the children in need! We NEED you and your pediatric feeding therapy services!!

Am I going to harm my patient?

Such a good question that ALL pediatric feeding therapists have in the beginning of their training. The goal of Feed The Peds® is to equip you to offer comprehensive feeding evaluations and effective therapy sessions. In doing so, we teach you to create feeding therapy goals at a level that allow your client to experience success while also challenging them to further their skills. This allows therapy sessions to be safe for your client while also allowing them to grow their feeding skills in a more controlled manner. 

Am I doing enough even when progress is slow?

The question “am I doing enough?” has to be answered by your client. We can not “speed” our clients up. Each client will progress at slightly different rates in feeding therapy. Our goal is to offer therapy goals that will challenge our client so they continue to grow, mentor parents on how to work on goals throughout the week/in between sessions, and continuously monitor progress. If progress stalls, we need to troubleshoot and determine why and how we can help the client continue to grow. We want to stimulate the clients’ growth and continue to offer new opportunities for them  to be successful without putting a time limit on them which could ultimately prohibit growth and success.