Pediatric feeding disorders involve chronic and severe problems with food consumption, exceeding ordinary developmental variations in hunger, food preferences and/or interest in eating, resulting in a number of detrimental outcomes.
Over time, the chronic and severe nature of feeding disorders can lead to a number of medical and nutritional concerns, including poor weight gain, feeding tube or oral formula supplementation (to promote growth) and severely restricted diets (e.g., eating fewer than 12 foods). Without intervention, chronic feeding problems tend to increase in frequency and severity.
Our Feeding Disorders Program represents one of the few facilities in the country, and the only program in the southeastern United States, to offer empirically supported, interdisciplinary assessment and treatment of children with pediatric feeding disorders (8 months to 21 years of age). This program's treatment approach is guided by a parallel research program that seeks to enhance the feeding services provided to families through research focusing on the cause, prevalence, medical/developmental consequences and remediation of feeding problems in pediatric populations.
Through our clinical practice, we have assembled a set of effective techniques to increase the volume and variety of foods consumed during meals while concurrently eliminating the challenging behaviors that prohibit intake. Working from this foundation, an overarching goal of our research core is to expand the evidence base by developing and evaluating cost-effective and time-efficient methods of treatment delivery with the potential for broad application and rapid dissemination.
This emphasis is guided by the recognition that, with relatively few interdisciplinary feeding programs spread out geographically, there is a clear need to identify alternative treatment avenues to:
Related projects include developing and evaluating methods for assessing feeding concerns (e.g., standardized questionnaires, estimates of nutrient intake, behavioral observation), in addition to determining the contribution of developmental and medical factors in the emergence and maintenance of feeding problems in certain "at-risk" pediatric populations for feeding disorders (e.g., autism spectrum disorder).
Avi Gates, an active, independent 3-year-old, does not have autism. But for two years, she was a participant in an autism research study aimed at changing the very nature of the disease. Learn why Avi's parent's chose to participate in autism research.
Marcus Autism Center is a subsidiary of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
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