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Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Intensivist.

INDUSTRY-LEADING & AWARD WINNING HEALTHCARE

NJPFA has been the Tri-state area’s most prominent resources for diagnostic and quality feeding &

swallowing therapy for decades. Arising from a greater need beyond New Jersey, NJPFA  now offers pediatric feeding &

swallowing intensives WORLDWIDE

NJPFA's mission is to provide the best care for infants and children who have been diagnosed with HIE, TBI, CP, and NFD.  With over 30 years of experience, I am educated and certified in all treatment approaches that will guarantee your child’s success. My focus in creating NJPFA was to provide thoughtful, high quality, goal-driven treatment to address the needs of your child and family. I recognize that there was not one approach that works for every child which is why I customize an individual program for YOUR child with a focus on long-term strategies to ensure your child's success.

 

 I am  certified, trained, and experienced in the medical, oral motor, behavioral, and sensory approaches of feeding & swallowing and have spent greater than 30 years evaluating and providing intervention using the latest treatment principles & philosophies as well as the most technological & breakthrough advances in the field of dysphagia and feeding therapy. I hold a certificate of clinical competence by  ASHA, a 5 time recipient of the ASHA ACE award for continuing education, licensed in 10 states, vetted in multiple countries, and hold advanced certifications in many areas of treatment. I am currently a member of the medical advisory board for Hope for HIE, board member for the Oral Motor Institute, and member of multiple organizations and non-profits. I am a national/international educator/lecturer for pediatric dysphagia.

Lastly, I would love nothing more than to help your child succeed!

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- Nancy Calamusa

M.A, CCC-SLP

About Us

What I Do

Baby's Clutch

Feeding

Therapy

Traveling

Intensives

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Swallowing

Therapy

Services

What is a traveling "Feeding/Swallowing Intensive?"

An "intensive" is short for Intensive Therapeutic Intervention-ITI™​

Intensive therapy is certainly not a new concept with regards to feeding and swallowing however, at NJPFA I have pioneered advances in utilizing this method along with a multi-modality approach to habilitate these skills in infants and children.  Intensive therapy is the process of performing multiple therapeutic sessions throughout the day, for several days or weeks with specific goals derived for each individual child. Intensive therapy is designed to evoke new neural connections or boost poor connections following an injury to the brain. The premise of this therapy is based upon neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to recover function after traumatic injury. This “re-wiring” of the brain is a process that is strongest in early childhood during rapid brain development (Kolb, 1995). Intensive early intervention in children who have suffered from a brain injury is one of the most effective treatments, leading to the highest success rate. (Pearce, OSU, 2017). Repetition, with a concentration on functional movement and learning patterns, allows for new neural pathways to be established. Although neuroplasticity is not a novel concept, it is new in utilizing these principles in the treatment of pediatric feeding/swallowing dysfunction.

Feeding and swallowing disorders vary widely in terms of presentation, severity and frequency, and available treatment strategies (Arvedson, et al. 2010). At NJPFA, I specialize in feeding/swallowing strategies and techniques that assist your child in acquiring feeding skills and tailor each individual program for your child based on the need(s) identified by the parent/caregiver. Therapy will focus on 2-3 goals designed by our therapists who will create a short-term plan for long term success. Depending on the concerns identified by the parent/caregiver, sessions typically involve addressing feeding/swallowing needs in 1 or more of 4 areas:

  • Medical

  • Oral Motor Dysfunction/Disorder

  • Sensory

  • Behavioral

My primary goal is to support nutrition and hydration, adequate growth, and develop feeding skills while ensuring safe feeding and swallowing practices. Brain-injured affected infants and children must learn the new skill of eating and swallowing like any other child which is why we refer to this style of therapy as habilitation of feeding. Using neuroplasticity principles and framework, combined with over 30 years of experience in pediatric feeding/swallowing disorders, and highly specialized training, I am confident I can help you and your child. 

It is important to understand why and how this program differs from a behavioral or team-based model of feeding therapy that many centers provide on a weekly basis. As a medically educated speech pathologist  I am experienced and trained in the latest technology and approaches in pediatric dysphagia, therefore I understand the medical model and its components driving the feeding/swallowing dysfunction. I am fortunate to have many medical specialties and subspecialties that support my approach from across the globe.

What population do you treat?

Any child who has experienced a hypoxic/anoxic brain injury (HIE; NFD; TBI; etc.), cerebral palsy, and various genetic syndromes.  

Intensive Feeding Therapy in Your Home State/Country

Licensed and available for patients in NJ, NY, MI, NC, FL, GA, TX, CO, CA, AZ, additional states pending TN, IN,!

International: UK (verified); IRE, HK. Requests accepted for additional regions/countries.

I will travel to you! 

"There have been big changes in the cerebral palsy world over the past 20 years or so. The first change is the growing awareness of neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to regrow, repair, reorganize and reallocate resources to create function.

Many professionals still secretly think hopeful parents are “in denial” and they discourage them from setting their hopes too high, for fear of disappointment. This is an outdated view that denies the reality that even doctors can be wrong. I have lived long enough to know the limits of what I can predict. Bless the parents who taught me about real hope."

quote from Dr. Karen Pape,  who was a lovely mentor & sadly missed from the world of pediatric brain injury

Inspiration: A Starfish Story...

Early one morning, a man was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. 

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!

Come..see how NJPFA can make a difference  in your child's life!

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