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Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program

Sanford Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program in Fargo, ND, is a provider referral based program that offers various levels of care for children from birth through age 12, across all levels of developmental abilities. Levels of care include intensive outpatient (IOP), as well as partial hospitalization.

Children served in the feeding disorder programs may have complicated medical histories, neurodevelopmental disabilities, Axis I psychological disorders, and/or disruptive mealtime behaviors. Common medical diagnoses may include failure to thrive, gastroesophageal reflux, autism, cerebral palsy, atresia (duodenal, esophageal, etc.), food allergies, dysphasia and motility problems.

This is the only intensive feeding disorders program in the Fargo, ND, region. Sanford employs professionals with training and experience in treating a wide variety of pediatric feeding and swallowing difficulties. We use evidence-based treatments to guide our individualized approach to your child’s care.

Contact us today. We’re here to help.
(701) 234-4111
(800) 437-4010  ext.4111

Our location
1717 S. University Drive
Fargo, ND 58103
Inside the Eating Disorders and Weight Management Center, third floor

The Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Sanford Health includes treatment rooms equipped with the technology for caregivers to observe staff and children during feeding sessions. This will allow our caregivers to be fully involved in treatment throughout all phases of the program. The program includes playroom and nap area.

Patients We Treat

Pediatric feeding disorders are a complex set of feeding and swallowing problems that impact the development of age-appropriate feeding behaviors. Children with these difficulties often do not consume enough food or liquid to gain weight and achieve optimal growth. 

Children with feeding disorders are not just “picky eaters”. They present with long standing feeding problems, which can include:

  • Disruptive mealtime behaviors
  • Difficulty advancing texture of food
  • Refusal to accept particular food groups
  • Refusal to swallow non-preferred foods
  • Oral motor and sensory problems
  • Total food and liquid refusal
  • Gastrostomy (g-tube) or naso-gastric (ng-tube) dependence

Feeding disorders may occur due to a variety of reasons of which may be medical, developmental, behavioral, and/or psychological in nature. If left untreated, feeding disorders may likely impact a child’s physical and social/emotional development.

Ask your family practice doctor or pediatrician about Sanford Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program in Fargo, ND, if:

  • You have significant difficulty at mealtime with your child
  • Your child refuses to eat
  • Your child is losing weight or not gaining weight
  • Your child regularly coughs, gags, or vomits prior to, during, or after mealtime
  • Your child is not eating appropriate foods for their age
  • Anxiety or fear related to mealtime, or to new foods

New Patient Information

If your child’s primary care physician or pediatric subspecialist suspects your child has a feeding disorder, they will refer you for an assessment with our team at Sanford Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program in Fargo, ND.

Comprehensive evaluation: Once a formal referral is obtained and relevant medical records are reviewed, we will contact you by telephone to conduct a brief interview. Following this interview, a comprehensive evaluation will be scheduled with our assessment team. The assessment will determine what level of treatment is necessary and appropriate for your child. If your child is recommended to participate in either the partial-hospitalization feeding program or intensive outpatient program, Sanford will begin the authorization process. Once prior approval from your insurance provider is obtained, your child will be scheduled into the program and a packet of information will be sent to you for completion.

Your first visit: The first visit will consist of additional evaluation with your treatment team. The team will conduct additional assessments to determine the best course of treatment for your child.  We will observe meals fed by the parent/caregiver, as well as assess the child’s current feeding difficulties.  Following the initial assessment, your child will have three to four therapeutic feeding sessions each day.

Individualized treatment plans will be designed based on the results of the evaluation. Our treatment plans are based on objective data we collect, scientific principles of behavior analysis, team and caregiver input, and evidence-based treatments for feeding disorders. We will regularly assess outcomes through the course of the admission. Once a treatment plan has been developed and your child begins to make progress toward treatment goals, parent/caregiver training will occur. This training is key to the success of Sanford’s program, as we strive to help your child develop feeding behaviors that can be maintained in home and community environments.

Follow-up care: Follow-up appointments will be scheduled at the clinic approximately two weeks after completing Sanford’s partial-hospitalization program. During the follow-up appointment our staff will conduct a meal with your child to evaluate the effects of treatment and success. Recommendations for continued follow-up will occur based on the results of this visit.

Meet Our Team

Sanford takes a team approach to care with a variety of specialty-trained professionals prepared to treat your child from many different perspectives.

The intensive feeding disorders program will utilize a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Our assessment team will consist of psychology, psychiatry, nutrition, social work, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nursing, as well as pediatric medicine.

Carrie Brower-Breitwieser, PhD, BCBA-D, board-certified doctoral level behavior analyst/child and adolescent psychologist practicing in North Dakota leads our feeding disorders team, along with Brennan Forward, board-certified pediatrician.  A board-certified child and adolescent psychologist will serve as our medical director.