Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Program

Overview of the Program

The Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Program at Winthrop-University Hospital specializes in the diagnosis and therapeutic management of feeding and swallowing disorders in the pediatric population. We are part of a pediatric specialty center where consulting physicians and allied health professionals in the areas of gastroenterology, pulmonology, nutrition, genetics, cardiology, and endocrinology work collaboratively. Children are seen as both inpatients and outpatients.

Our goal is to maximize feeding skills and improve each child’s well being through treatment, training and parental support. Treatment plans respect the interconnection of motor, sensory, behavioral, nutritional and underlying medical conditions related to the child’s feeding and swallowing issues. Treatment is provided by expert clinicians who are highly experienced, passionately dedicated and trained in research-based strategies proven to be effective in the treatment of this population. Extensive family/caregiver education is integrated into treatment to reinforce therapeutic strategies and develop carryover of skills to be used at home and within the community.

A child referred to our program will be seen for a clinical consultation which involves an in depth medical/developmental history, oral-motor evaluation and feeding observation. If the findings of this evaluation warrant further investigation, a Modified Barium Swallow study/Videofluoroscopic Swallow study will be recommended.

Modified Barium Swallow/Videofluroscopic Study

The Modified Barium Swallow Study/Videofluoroscopic Swallow study assesses the anatomy and physiology of the swallowing mechanism. Both a Pediatric Swallowing Specialist and a Pediatric Radiologist assess the study’s findings to ensure the most reliable results. Our radiology staff is child-friendly, patient, and prepared to assist the family however they can to make the procedure as comfortable for the child as possible. If needed, a Child Life Specialist can be called ahead of time to help the child feel more at ease.

Louisa Ferrara, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Louisa is an ASHA Board Certified Specialist in Feeding and Swallowing Disorders. She has advanced training in clinical and instrumental assessments, as well as treatment and maintenance of children with swallowing and feeding difficulties. Ms. Ferrara is nationally recognized as an expert in pediatric swallowing and feeding disorders across the continuum of pediatric settings, including neonates, medically-fragile infants, children with developmental disabilities and children through school age.

Ms. Ferrara performs research assessing the swallow mechanism in preterm infants utilizing Videofluoroscopic Swallow Studies. Ms. Ferrara lectures to physicians, nurses and therapists on topics including: Neonatal and Pediatric Dysphagia, NICU Feeding Challenges, Feeding Assessments and Therapy; as well as related topics including GERD, Cardio-Respiratory Events and Oral Aversions. Ms. Ferrara is actively pursuing her doctoral degree in speech language pathology and serves as an internship clinical supervisor to various universities throughout Long Island and NYC.

Kelly Catapano, MS, CCC-SLP

Kelly is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has over 12 years of experience working with children in both educational and clinical based settings.  Kelly is highly trained in the evaluation and treatment of feeding and swallowing disorders and is presently working towards her Board Recognition Specialty in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BRS-S).  Kelly is extensively trained in the SOS Approach to Feeding. This approach integrates posture, sensory, motor, behavioral/learning, medical and nutritional factors to comprehensively evaluate and manage children with feeding/growth problems.

Both clinicians are New York State licensed and have their ASHA certification.

For appointments please contact the office at (516) 663-4600.