Oral Motor / Feeding

Oral Motor Delay

Typically, Oral Motor Delay is present in the child with feeding problems. The suck-swallow-breathe pattern in infants may be poorly developed. Muscles of the tongue, jaw and lips may be weak with chewing patterns underdeveloped.


Feeding Aversions/Delay

Children will have difficulty drinking from a bottle or cup, chewing solid foods and with textures. Some children choke or gag on food while others drool and spill food from their mouths. Other children experience sensory issues transitioning to solids or when offered new foods. These children may be overly sensitive to specific tastes or textures or demonstrate an under-reaction to foods, craving spicy or crunchy foods.


Feeding Therapy (part of Speech Therapy):

Oral skills are at the root of eating and swallowing. Feeding disorders prevent these processes from going smoothly and can often inhibit their ability to do this safely. With oral motor/feeding therapy, our therapists ensure your child is receiving the best treatment plan to build muscle strength around the mouth, tongue function, improve chewing, swallowing and more. Children can have obstacles with their oral abilities which in turn affect the eating process. Our therapists discover why a child may be having issues and from there, designate the appropriate intervention needed. Our therapists establish a plan customized for each child.


Oral Motor/Feeding Milestones

  • 4-6 months– Babies are introduced to soft solid foods such as cereals and pureed fruits and vegetables. Cup drinking may also be introduced (6 months).
  • 6-9 months– Soft cookies may be introduced as well as ground or lumpy solids.
  • 10-12 months-Mashed or soft table foods are introduced, babies will also take most of their liquids from a cup. At 12 months, babies have a controlled bite and are able to bite through cookies.
  • 13-15 months– Continued improvement with biting skills, will also use a straw or regular cup.
  • 16-18 months– Children are given more challenging foods that require chewing, such as meats and vegetables.
  • 19-24 months– Children will begin to gain more control of cup drinking and will bite the cup less. They are learning to drink in longer sequences with little or no spillage.
  • 2 years– Children are able to manage any type of food they like as they have learned all the skills they need to eat every type of food.


Common Referral Criteria for A Feeding Evaluation:

  • Delay in feeding milestones
  • Weight loss or lack of weight gain for 2-3 months
  • Persistent gagging or coughing while eating
  • Irritability surrounding meals
  • Severe behavior problems related to feeding
  • Food refusal or very limited diet

Contact Us

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17718 Hunting Bow Circle
Lutz, FL 33558

New Tampa

2241 Green Hedges Way
Wesley Chapel, FL 33544

Contact Info

p. 813-973-1033
f. 844-495-7168


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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions that we've gotten over the past 10+ years of empowering kids to bloom and succeed through therapy.  For a full list of FAQ, click here.

What happens during our first visit?
Please plan to arrive 10 minutes early for your first appointment. You may download forms online, under "Resources" on the homepage of this website or by clicking here. These forms are password protected, so you will need to contact the office to obtain access. Your therapist will come out to greet you in the waiting room. Your child will be asked to remove his/her shoes, and he/she may choose a pair of socks to wear throughout their visit. This is to keep a healthy, clean environment for everyone and for the safety of the mats in the gym (yes, even the parents please!). Your therapist will then ask background questions and establish rapport in a playful manner. Your child will be put at ease immediately--this is a comfortable, fun, and playful place to be!
Will my insurance cover an evaluation and/or therapy?
Most often, insurance will cover at least a portion, if not all of an evaluation. Coverage for therapy services will depend on the individual insurance plan, and it is often determined by medical necessity. It is each family's responsibility to verify insurance benefits prior to receiving services. We will take a copy of your insurance card to verify your benefits; however, it is ultimately the family's responsibility to research as well.
How long will my child need therapy?
Typically, a treatment plan is established over 6-month increments. Your child will have his/her initial evaluation completed with treatment goals established to be achieved within a 6-month period. Sometimes therapy can extend for longer periods of time depending on progress, diagnosis, and severity of the disorder. Individual treatment plans are established, and parents play an integral role in treatment planning. You can expect that your child will participate in a re-evaluation every 6-9 months to determine if therapy goals need to be revised and to monitor progress. Your insurance may require more frequent documentation, in which case, it is your responsibility to notify your therapist what is required.
What insurance plans do you currently accept?

We are currently in-network for Advent Health, Aetna, Aetna Better Health, Allied, BCBS, CHAMPVA, Cigna, CMS, Coventry, Health First Health Plan, Humana, Meritain, Molina, Multiplan, Simply Health, Staywell, Straight Medicaid, Sunshine, Sunshine Healthy Kids, Tricare Select and Prime, UHC, and UMR.   Although we are out of network with some insurance companies at this time, you may still be eligible for coverage depending on your plan. In addition, being in-network does not always guarantee coverage for disorders that are developmental in nature. Please call the office to discuss your options.