Interdisciplinary Outpatient Feeding Team Evaluation

There is often more than one reason why a child has a feeding disorder. The benefit of an interdisciplinary outpatient feeding evaluation is that our team of feeding experts can use their combined expertise to assess your child’s unique needs, to identify your child’s feeding strengths and challenges, and to guide you to the next step. The interdisciplinary feeding team experts who may be a part of the evaluation include:

  • Nutritionist will evaluate your child’s growth and whether your child’s fluid and food intake are meeting their calorie, protein, fluid, vitamin and mineral needs.
  • Occupational Therapist will assess your child’s breathing, coordination, postural control, sensory processing, self-regulation, and strength needed for feeding, mealtime, and general routines.
  • Psychologist/Psychotherapist will assess how you and your child manage behavior or emotional problems that are affecting your child’s feeding.
  • Speech-Language Pathologist specialized in feeding will evaluate your child’s ability to chew, drink, and safely swallow foods and liquids.

What steps should I take to schedule an Interdisciplinary Outpatient Feeding Team Evaluation?

Follow these Steps to Start the Process

  • Get a prescription from your child’s doctor.
  • Call our Feeding Intake Coordinator (908-301-5915) after you get the prescription from your doctor. Our feeding intake coordinator will ask you questions and schedule your evaluation.

Preparing for your Evaluation Appointment

  • Our Feeding Intake Coordinator will send you electronic intake forms and ask you to fill them in.
  • Please complete the forms at least one week before the evaluation or your appointment will be cancelled.

Important Information for Evaluation

Where do I go for an Interdisciplinary Outpatient Feeding Evaluation?

  • We offer interdisciplinary outpatient feeding evaluations at several CSH locations throughout New Jersey.
  • The Feeding Intake Coordinator will schedule your child’s evaluation at the location nearest you, at the location with the next available appointment based on your preference, or virtually, if appropriate.

Do I need to fill out forms?

  • Yes, but we will send these to you when we schedule the evaluation.

How do I prepare for the evaluation?

  • Your child should be at least a little hungry before coming to the evaluation. We suggest no oral or tube feeding for two hours before the evaluation if possible. If this is not possible, try to limit the food to a light snack. Water is fine.
  • You need to bring preferred and non-preferred foods, and at least one liquid to the evaluation.
    • Please see examples below of the types of preferred and non-preferred foods we would like you to bring. Please also bring the utensils, cups, plates, and anything you use at mealtime such as toys or an iPad.

Food or Drink



Preferred food

A food your child eats every time you serve it

*any foods

Challenging food

A food you want your child to eat but your child will not eat

*any foods

Pureed food

Food blended or that is naturally at a smooth consistency (does not need to be a preferred food)

Applesauce, pudding, yogurt

Soft, chewable food

Food that does not need a lot of chewing to eat safely (does not need to be a preferred food)

Bread, soft cookie, cheese doodle, banana, avocado

Crunchy/harder-to-chew food

Food that needs a lot of chewing to eat safely (does not need to be a preferred food)

Raw vegetables or fruits, crackers, chips, meat

A drink

Any drink you serve at home

Milk and/or water

Specialty products

Anything you add to your child’s foods or drinks

Thickener, butter, rice cereal

Do I need to bring anything else?

  • Current photo id (e.g., driver’s license)
  • Insurance card
  • Names and addresses of individuals you want to receive the evaluation report
  • Notepad; you may want to write down your questions

What will happen during the evaluation?

  • Our feeding experts will welcome you and your child. You and your child will be a member of our team. As a team, we will work together to assess your child's unique needs, to identify your child's feeding strengths and challenges, and to guide you to the next step.
  • Our feeding experts will review the information from the forms you filled out and sent us. We will discuss and review this information with you further at the time of the evaluation.
  • Our feeding experts want to see what mealtime is like. They will ask you to have your child eat the foods and drink the drink they asked you to bring. Some feeding experts may watch from an observation room so the mealtime observation will be more natural for you and your child.
  • Toward the end of the evaluation, the feeding experts will leave the room briefly to discuss their findings with each other and compile their recommendations.
  • You will have time to ask questions. Our feeding experts will discuss their recommendations with you. They also will give you a printed summary of the recommendations.

How long will the evaluation take?

  • Evaluations usually take about 2 hours.

What happens after the evaluation?

  • Our feeding experts will partner with you during your child’s evaluation to guide you to the next step.
  • Whatever you and our feeding experts decide, you can be sure that we will be there to support you. Here are some examples of recommendations that caregivers and our feeding experts make after the evaluation.
    • A program for the caregiver to follow at home.
      • A home program is a great way to help your child make progress. Our feeding experts will give you a printed list of things to do at home to improve your child’s feeding behavior. They will show you how to do these things. They will work with you to decide when and how often you should do the home program. Some families only do a home program. Some families do a home program and go to treatment.
    • Treatment with one or more of our expert clinicians.
      • If treatment is recommended, they will tell you which feeding discipline(s) can best develop an individualized treatment that will address your child’s unique needs.
    • Medical tests or evaluations.
      • Some children need medical tests or evaluations to find out whether medical problems or conditions are causing or worsening their feeding disorder. Our feeding experts may provide you with recommendations to seek evaluations with certain medical specialists to rule out any underlying causes of the feeding disorder.

When will I get the results of the evaluation?

  • Our feeding experts will give you a printed summary of their recommendations at the time of the evaluation. You will then receive the full reports within 2 weeks of the evaluation. A copy of the evaluation reports can also be accessed via the patient portal.

Will my insurance pay for the evaluation?

  • Many insurance plans cover our services. Please call your insurance company if you have specific questions about your benefits. Our Insurance Verification and Authorization team will work with your insurance company to authorize the evaluation prior to the visit date.

Return to Feeding Services Homepage

Need Help? Contact our Feeding Intake Coordinator, call 908-301-5915

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Children's Specialized Hospital
200 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(888) 244-5373

Feeding Disorders Program - Pediatric Treatment & Care

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