Support for Children with Feeding and Swallowing Issues

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The simple ability to consume food is one that most of us take for granted. But for children with pediatric feeding disorders, getting adequate nourishment is far from simple. Feeding and swallowing problems are extremely complex, yet surprisingly common in children. A recent $4 million gift from the Escoll-Lubeck Charitable Foundation to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) supports the expansion of services to these children.

The newly named Martha Escoll Lubeck Feeding and Swallowing Center at CHOP draws an interdisciplinary team of specialists – including physicians, nurse practitioners, registered dietitians, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, psychologists, social workers and others – to provide patients and their families with a comprehensive approach to treating dysphagia and nutrition-related concerns. The Center is led by Medical Director Sherri S. Cohen, MD, MPH, FAAP, and Co-Director Colleen T. Lukens, PhD.

Approximately 1 in every 4 children admitted to a hospital has some type of growth or feeding problem. Without appropriate treatment, these disorders can have lasting effects on a child's physical and emotional development.

Grant funding allows the Feeding and Swallowing Center to expand its services and approach to care for thousands of pediatric patients. The Center offers care, solutions and guidance to children with pediatric feeding disorders and their families in two main ways:

  • Feeding and Swallowing Outpatient Clinic. In this clinic, our team evaluates patients through a feeding observation, then provides treatment recommendations and ongoing monitoring to assess the child’s progress.
  • Intensive Day Hospital Treatment Program. For children who need more intensive treatment, the day hospital program provides a structured in-person program using behavioral strategies and nutrition management to improve eating in children. Common goals include eating larger volumes and variety of foods. This program also provides strategies that parents and caregivers can use to improve their child’s eating at home.

The full spectrum of care available at CHOP allows each patient to move through the continuum of care based on their individual needs – and allows family members to fully participate in treatment and supportive programs.

The Center serves children with a variety of medical diagnoses including:

To request a consult about a patient with CHOP’s Feeding and Swallowing Center, call 215-590-7491. Learn more about referring a patient to CHOP.

Next Steps
Initial Appointments
Questions/Concerns/Follow-Up Appointments