Feeding Team Evaluation

Feeding Team Evaluation: Questions Often Asked By Our Families


Q: Why is my child having a Feeding Team evaluation?

A: Your pediatrician or another health care professional may have referred you for a comprehensive feeding evaluation to have all aspects of your child’s feeding experience evaluated. The Comprehensive Feeding Program promotes a positive experience for children and their families while fostering the progression of developmental feeding milestones.

Q: What will happen during the evaluation?

A: The Feeding Team will obtain information regarding your child’s medical history, feeding history, developmental milestones and areas of concern from you and your child. They will review the intake packet that was sent home for you to complete. The Team will ask you and your child to eat preferred and non-preferred foods, simulating a typical meal at home, with the option of viewing the interaction from behind a one-way mirror.

Q: Who are the members of the Feeding Team that will be present during the evaluation?

A: The Team consists of a Speech Language Pathologist, an Occupational Therapist, a Psychology staff member and a Nutritionist. They will work closely with you and your family to understand your concerns for your child, and partner with you to develop goals and a treatment plan to accomplish those goals.

Speech Language Pathologist – Evaluates your child’s ability to drink, chew, and safely swallow a variety of foods and liquids.

Occupational Therapist – Evaluates a child’s strength, coordination, postural control and breathing, sensory processing and self-regulation.

Psychology Staff – Observes potential emotional or behavior problems that are interfering with the feeding process.

Nutritionist - Evaluates a child’s growth parameters, current food/fluid intake and whether they are meeting their nutritional/hydration needs.

Q: Will a medical doctor be involved in the evaluation?

A: No. We do not have a medical doctor available during a Feeding Team Evaluation. The team will make the recommendation if a medical doctor needs to be seen at a separate time.

Q: How long will the evaluation take?

A: Depending on your child’s age, the evaluation may take up to two and a half hours.

Q: Will there be time to discuss the findings?

A: The Team will discuss the initial findings with you at the end of the evaluation. Together, with the evaluators, you will discuss the areas for improvement and strategies for home, how long your child will need therapy, the plan of care and therapy goals.

Q: What is the Family’s role during the evaluation?

A: Family involvement during the evaluation varies for each individual child. Typically, the team will want to observe your child’s usual behaviors.

Q: When will I get a report?

A: You will receive a written summary report on the day of the evaluation that will provide both suggestions for home and therapeutic recommendations. You will also receive a report by mail from individual disciplines with 3 weeks.

Q: What do I need to bring?

A: Please bring:

  • It is necessary for you to bring preferred and non-preferred foods of varying textures and consistencies, so the team may observe your child’s reaction to various types of sensory experiences.
  • A current photo ID (license)
  • Insurance card
  • Referral if needed
  • Prescription
  • School reports
  • Prior evaluations
  • Name/addresses of individuals you might want the report sent to
  • Current list of medications
  • Bring any equipment that your child regularly uses (forks, spoons, cups, glasses, hearing aid, etc)
  • A list of questions to ask the therapist.

Q: Should my child eat prior to the evaluation?

A: Depending on the time of day of the evaluation, we suggest that you refrain from any full size meals prior to the evaluation. If the evaluation is in the morning, we ask that you limit your child’s food intake beforehand. If the evaluation is at lunchtime, a lighter morning meal is preferred, and you child’s “lunch” will be consumed at the site.

Q: What should my child wear?

A: Please have your child wear loose comfortable clothing and a pair of socks and shoes.

Q: Can I bring my other children?

A: If possible, it is recommended that siblings stay home so that the parent can give their undivided attention during the evaluation. Understanding that childcare is sometimes difficult, when bringing siblings, it may be helpful to bring another adult and activities to occupy the siblings during the evaluation.

Q: What if therapy is recommended, will my insurance pay for it?

A: Medical coverage will vary, but many health insurance plans cover our services. Please contact your insurance company to verify if your plan offers a benefit for feeding therapy services, and if the diagnosis you were given is covered under your policy. Many plans offer a benefit for feeding, but often have a medical necessity clause, meaning that some diagnoses are not a covered benefit, if they are not deemed medically necessary. If therapy is recommended, our Insurance Verification and Authorization Department will obtain authorization for treatment. Once the treatment is approved, you will receive a phone call from our scheduling department to schedule an appointment for treatment. There is a wait list for after school therapy.

Created by the Family Advisory Council at Children’s Specialized Hospital, dedicated to collaborating with Hospital leadership and staff -- empowering families to provide valuable input toward improving organizational policies and practices.