How Do I Know if My Child Has a Swallowing or Feeding Disorder?

Many children are picky eaters at one point in time or another. Fortunately, when appropriate behaviours are modeled by parents and a wide array of healthy food choices are offered, most will outgrow the frustrating phase.

But did you know that being a picky eater can also be a sign of a swallowing or feeding disorder?

Some children may avoid certain foods with textures that they find difficult to swallow, such as meat, raw vegetables or toast, preferring pureed foods or soft pastas for their meals.

Other signs of a potential feeding disorder may include frequent coughing or choking throughout a meal, vomiting during or after a meal, or food escaping the mouth while eating. These signs could indicate the presence of a swallowing or feeding disorder. It is important not to ignore symptoms like these because the child’s nutritional intake could be affected. Swallowing and feeding disorders can start in infancy, in toddler years or in school age children.

If you suspect a swallowing or feeding disorder could be at the root of mealtime challenges in your household, it is recommended that you express your concerns to your family doctor. You may be referred to a Speech-Language Pathologist or a medical specialist (e.g., ENT) for further assessment.

At S.L. Hunter & Associates, the team of highly trained Speech-Language Pathologists will provide a relaxed, positive environment where children feel supported, encouraged and safe. Anyone with concerns regarding a possible swallowing or feeding disorder is welcome to contact the clinic to arrange for an assessment.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. They can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at