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Developmental Foundations for Children with Feeding & Eating Problems

presented by Jennifer Pitonyak

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Feeding, eating, and swallowing are complex processes that require the physiological function of body systems and structures as a foundation for the observable, goal-directed actions that emerge with development. This introductory course reviews the body structures and functions required for feeding, eating, and swallowing and discusses their relationship with typical developmental milestones expected from birth through early childhood. Dr. Jennifer Pitonyak uses specific examples to illustrate the development of necessary performance skills for feeding and eating. This course is part of an introductory series on occupation-based approaches to intervention for children with feeding and eating difficulties.

Meet Your Instructor

Jennifer Pitonyak, PhD, OTR/L, SCFES

Jennifer Pitonyak, PhD, OTR/L, SCFES, is a licensed occupational therapist with 20 years of clinical experience working with children with feeding difficulties. She has previously worked in both inpatient and outpatient multidisciplinary feeding programs at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, providing occupational therapy services to children with oral motor…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing: Body Structures

Feeding, eating, and swallowing require the function of numerous body structures. Dr. Pitonyak begins by defining feeding and eating according to the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 3rd Edition (AOTA, 2014), and then reviews body structures of the upper aerodigestive tract.

2. Stages of Deglutition: The Physiological Process of Swallowing

In this chapter, Dr. Pitonyak reviews the physiological process of swallowing. Participants will begin to identify and understand three different phases of this process: oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal.

3. Developmental Skills Necessary for Feeding and Eating

In this chapter, Dr. Pitonyak examines the relationship between client factors and necessary performance skills for feeding and eating. Developmental skills necessary for feeding and eating from birth through early childhood are reviewed.

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