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Feeding Treatment: A Team Approach

For treating babies that require feeding therapy, there are no cases that are similar. That’s why it’s important to have a technique that uses multiple perspectives to both evaluate and treat each case.

This is exactly what has been initiated at PediaSpeech recently. Jennifer McCullough M.S. CCC-SLP and Julia Marvil M.S. OTR/L have begun implementing a collaborative approach for both speech and occupational therapy for evaluating and treating feeding babies. They individually do their own evaluations of the same child, and then integrate their perspectives to effectively create a plan to treat them. As an occupational therapist, Julia generally takes a sensory approach to treating feeding problems. Whereas Jennifer tends to take an oral/motor approach for her treatment as a speech therapist. By combining their respective skills for treating feeding patients, Jennifer and Julia are able to efficiently treat each case.

This approach was developed because of the contrast in training that Jennifer received in comparison to Julia. Jennifer has had decades of experience in treating children who require feeding therapy. Julia got into feeding early on through working with babies and children before and after they underwent a procedure to release their tethered oral issues. She wrote a blog about this condition. Read more about it here… PediaSpeech website. Both Jennifer and Julia are wholeheartedly interested in feeding, but trained from different perspectives. This allowed them to establish this co-treatment technique where they utilize their distinct training in order to collectively treat children requiring feeding therapy.

The rationalization as to why co-treating is advantageous comes down to the basic benefits of collaboration. As mentioned earlier, one case for a child with feeding issues may be vastly different from another case. Therefore, multiple viewpoints are extremely helpful in evaluating and handling each case. At its foundation, this methodology has multiple therapists with different training who are cooperating to achieve one goal. The therapists will further consult the children’s pediatricians and specialists (i.e. GI, ENT, Dieticians) before establishing an individualized treatment plan for each child. By using this team approach Jennifer and Julia can share and compare their ideas and choose what best will assist the child with feeding. Their dynamic is so valuable because they come from different backgrounds in regards to their training and exposure to feeding cases.

This team approach is something that can be easily implemented into each employee’s practice. It takes exposure to cases to gain an understanding of treating babies requiring feeding therapy. In Julia’s own words, “The more eyes we have on a problem, the better we will be able to solve it”.