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Beyond Words: Treating Feeding Issues with Pediatric Speech Therapy

Jolie Koesters

For parents and caregivers, few issues are as worrisome as feeding and swallowing difficulties in children. In addition to the obvious concerns about physical growth and getting enough nutrients, untreated feeding and swallowing disorders can lead to health, learning and social problems.

For RehabVisions’ speech-language pathologist Lindsey Ascheman, SLP, specializing in pediatric feeding and swallowing therapy is not just a profession; it’s a calling fueled by a passion for empowering young lives.

Lindsey’s commitment to helping young patients thrive despite structural and functional obstacles led her to pursue a high-level, 12-week certification in Feed the Peds, a comprehensive approach that encompasses everything from understanding feeding development from birth, addressing tethered oral tissues and adapting myofunctional therapy for children with cognitive abilities under the age of four.

Lindsey Ascheman, SLP, treats pediatric patients at RehabVisions’ physical, occupational and speech therapy outpatient clinic in on State Street in Dickinson.

“I wanted to better assist my patients in their progression, especially those facing significant challenges from feeding disorders,” Lindsey explains. “Feed the Peds offered me a holistic understanding as well as the practical tools to make a real difference.”

Each session is tailored to the unique needs of the child, often lasting up to an hour. The session typically includes assessments, sensory warm-ups, oral motor exercises and practical coaching for parents on home exercises.

But what truly makes the therapy engaging and effective are the playful elements integrated into each session.

“Engagement is key,” Lindsey emphasizes. “By incorporating games and playful interactions with food, we create a safe space for children to explore and experiment without pressure.”

From playing “hot potato” with vegetables to turning feeding into an adventurous journey of driving or flying food into a bin, every activity is designed to build tolerance and foster positive associations with eating.

Parent involvement is crucial in this process,” Lindsey asserts. “When parents attend sessions and actively participate, they gain invaluable insights into their child’s abilities and challenges.”

Together with parents, Lindsey develops achievable plans for families to continue therapy at home, ensuring continuity and progress beyond the therapy room.

The overarching goal of Feed the Peds therapy is to equip children with the skills and confidence to expand their diet safely while reducing the risk of choking or aspiration.

“Every small improvement is a victory,” says Lindsey. “It’s about nurturing progress and celebrating every milestone, no matter how small.”

For parents considering therapy for their child’s feeding or swallowing issues, Lindsey offers reassurance and hope.

“Choosing a therapist certified in Feed the Peds means choosing expertise, compassion and a commitment to ongoing learning,” Lindsey explains. “It means placing your child’s well-being in capable hands and embarking on a journey of growth together.”

Pediatric speech therapy can help children find their voices and families discover resilience and hope in the face of adversity.

“Every child deserves the chance to thrive,” says Lindsey. “It’s an honor to be part of their journey.”

Learn more about RehabVisions’ pediatric therapy program, or request an appointment for an evaluation today.

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