what we do
Our ONE Goal
Eating is a life long activity that brings people and families together. It is our comfort, our traditions, our family that is completely immersed in food. It follows us from the moment you take your first breath to your last. It is how you survive, thrive, and grow.
When this complex skill is compromised and full of challenges, tears, gagging, and fear, it will affect every member of your family, and every part of your day. Our goal is to break down those walls and barriers and make it easier for everyone to enjoy their family meals together.
Everyone should have a seat at the table.
What is Feeding Therapy?
Feeding therapy helps children learn to accept new foods, increase the amount of food they are eating, and accept new textures of food. Approximately 25-35% of average children will have mild feeding problems (Leung, 1994). Children with Autism have an extremely high rate of feeding difficulty, with 90% of children with Autism having some reported difficulty with feeding or foods, and 70% reported as at least picky or very selective eaters (Kodak & Piazza, 2008; Keen, 2008).
What we specialize in?
Feeding Therapy in infants and small children may look different and involve more oral motor exercises and techniques to facilitate appropriate movement of the jaw, tongue, lips, palate, and cheeks. Sensory tools may be used to stimulate and train the muscles involved with feeding.
We have extensive training that allows us to identify and correct the underlying skill deficits that are resulting in the challenges you see every day. Most therapists do not get into these deep levels of training and therefore only are looking at the surface issues.
Christine Miroddi, MA, CCC-SLP/TSSLD is a caring and fun Speech-Language Pathologist. She has experience working with a wide variety of clients, ages one to adult. Christine is up-to-date with the most cutting-edge research and evidence-based practice in the field of Speech-Language Pathology and has received an award from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) for her dedication to advancing her learning with an ACE Award. She has contributed to the field by developing an iPad application for Speech Pathologists called CASE. She is also trained in PROMPT, SOS, and AEIOU feeding methods, VitalStim (NMES) for swallowing, and ABA. She has completed training in Floortime, Oromyofunctional therapy, and is working towards becoming a Certified Lactation Supporter and Educator (CLSE). Additional post-graduate training and coursework in Autism, AAC, reading & literacy instruction, nutrition, as well as tongue ties have been completed. Christine plays to the strengths of each patient and finds what is motivating to help him or her achieve success. She provides in-service classes and workshops to parents and educators about how to eat and live healthy lives. Christine Miroddi is fully licensed and certified. Christine also authors the blog ‘The Speech-Language Parent.’
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Therapy is a small fraction of the child’s time. Food however is apart of our lives throughout the entire day. Therefore, family involvement is crucial to the success of feeding therapy. I have had great success with food chaining. Food chaining begins with analyzing the current feeding habits to determine which tastes, textures, and temperatures are most acceptable to the child. This may involve a food diary. Foods that the child currently tolerates remain the base of the diet, while gradually offering other foods that are identified as possibly acceptable. Any food that is moderately accepted becomes part of the foods that are regularly offered. The child is not overwhelmed with change, as this is a very gradual process, with the introduction of only one or two foods at a time. Videotaping of feedings outside of therapy may be requested to better analyze aspects like family interaction, distractions, and meal pacing. We also employ a range of sensory activities and modalities as an integral part of therapy. la.
- We get back from our body what we put into our body. Nutrients help us to focus, stay calm, learn new things, adapt, and grow. Without the proper nutrition, we also increase our risk for disease and infection. Good nutrition ensures that we have the proper army to fight whatever comes our way. When we conduct feeding therapy, the focus is always on the healthy foods. A human brain, especially a child’s brain, is dependent on vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and calories from food (Strickland). A lack of any of these essentials results in decreased neurotransmitter production, synthesis of the myelin sheath, glucose oxidation, as well as visual and cognitive processing (Strickland). Children (and adults) who restrict themselves to eating empty calories with low nutrients (pasta, bread, french fries, candy, cakes, etc.) are not getting the essential nutrients and tend to be moody, irritable, tired, and cannot perform up to their physical or cognitive potential (Dorman).
Coursework taken independently to learn about nutrition, a vital component of our lives, is integrated into all feeding therapy. Referrals to GI, allergy, and nutritionists may be recommended based on your child’s profile.
Sylvia Zaki, MA CCC-SLP
Sylvia is a Boston University graduate who enjoys working with all populations but has a soft spot for feeding difficulty and voice disorders. She has experience working across the lifespan in several settings, targeting motor speech, language, cognition, AAC, as well as PVFM and cough. She has extensive experience with the early intervention and autism populations. Her main goal is integrating functional strategies into the everyday activities of the client. Sylvia is a strong believer that any and everything can be used to target communication, and is passionate about including and training caregivers in the therapy of each client, prioritizing a holistic approach in treatment. With that in mind, she is working toward using her fluency in Arabic to reach more people in her local community.