Feeding Evaluation Clinic

The mission of the Feeding Evaluation Clinic is to provide diagnostic and treatment planning for children whose congenital or acquired medical issues or behaviorally-based impairments have affected feeding. An interdisciplinary team consists of persons from Pediatric Gastroenterology, Behavioral Psychology, Nutrition, and Speech Pathology.  Typically, two or more of these specialists will be at the child’s initial evaluation. We ask all caregivers to complete a screening form prior to their child’s visit. The information from this screening form is used to help determine which specialists are needed at the initial evaluation. 

Keith Williams, PhD., B.C.B.A., is the Director of the Feeding Program. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Penn State College of Medicine. Prior to coming to Hershey, Dr. Williams was a faculty member in the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program. He specializes in the behavioral treatment of childhood feeding disorders. He recently authored the book, Treating eating problems in children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities (Pro-Ed, 2007).  Dr. Williams also treats a wide array of behavior problems found among children with developmental disabilities. He is licensed as a psychologist in Maryland and Pennsylvania and is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Douglas Field, M.D., is the Director of the Feeding Program and provides the medical supervision for the Feeding Program. Dr. Field is a Pediatric Gastroenterologist who has worked at the Hershey Medical Center since 1995. He is the Chief of the Pediatric Gastroenterology and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Penn State College of Medicine. His interests include food refusal in children. Previous to his appointment here at Hershey, Dr. Field completed a fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and worked extensively with the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Katherine Riegel, M.A., B.C.B.A., is a Feeding Therapist II. She has been with the Program since 2000 and works with the intensive day treatment program. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Candace Paul, M.A., is a Feeding Therapist II. She has been with the Program since 2006 and works with the intensive day treatment program. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Referrals to our Feeding Program are received from a wide range of sources. We receive referrals from physicians, therapists, caregivers, visiting nurses, school personnel, and even insurance payors. If we receive a referral from someone other than the patient’s primary care provider, the primary care provider is contacted in order to ensure any required authorization for a visit is obtained.

Children with the following problems are appropriate for referral:

  • Food Refusal
  • Food Selectivity (by type)
  • Food Selectivity (by texture)
  • Oral Motor Deficits
 
  • Failure to Thrive      
  • Dysphagia
  • Mealtime Tantrums
  • Self-feeding Deficits
 
  • Food Allergies
  • Constipation
  • Recurrent Vomiting
  • Food or Swallowing Phobias

In order to get specific information about the child’s feeding and medical histories, the caregivers of each child referred to our Feeding Program is sent a screening form. This screening form is used to help determine which specialists should see the child in the initial evaluation. It provides a great deal of information about the child’s feeding which helps us to conduct a thorough assessment. Children are scheduled for a clinic appointment after the screening form has been reviewed.  You can request a screening form by emailing the Feeding Program at feedingprogram@hmc.psu.edu or by calling 717-531-7117.

Phone:  717-531-7117
Fax:  717-531-0720
Email:  feedingprogram@hmc.psu.edu
Mailing Address:

905 W Governor Rd
Suite 350
Hershey, PA  17033

One or more specialists from the Feeding Program will see your child. We use the information provided in the screening form to help determine which specialists are necessary. Our clinic is located in the Briarcrest Office Building on the 3rd Floor. The appointments generally last one to two hours. We typically review the child’s medical, feeding, and developmental histories with the caregivers. Typically, the Pediatric Gastroenterologist will conduct a limited physical examination. The child is weighed and measured. A feeding observation by one or more of the therapists is also often conducted. While the goal of the evaluation is to diagnose feeding problems and related medical problems, initial feeding plans are also developed with the caregiver. Depending on the nature of the feeding problem, further testing or treatment may be suggested.