"Speculating a child will have a poor prognosis following a brain injury is more damaging to their potential than the injury itself!
~N.Calamusa, M.A., CCC-SLP
What is an "Intensive?"
An "intensive" is short for Intensive Therapeutic Intervention-ITI™
Intensive therapy is certainly not a new concept with regards to feeding & swallowing however, at NJPFA we are pioneering advances in utilizing this method 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 a brain injury. 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 & swallowing disorders vary widely in terms of presentation, severity and frequency, and available treatment strategies (Arvedson, et al. 2010). At NJPFA, we 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:
Oral Motor Dysfunction/Disorder
Our primary goal is to support nutrition & hydration, adequate growth, and develop feeding skills while ensuring safe feeding & swallowing practices. Brain-injured affected infants and children must learn the new skill of eating & swallowing like any other child which is why we refer to this style of therapy as habilitation of feeding. Using neuroplasticity principles, combined with over 30 years of experience in pediatric feeding/swallowing disorders, and highly specialized training, we are confident we can help you and your child.
It is important to understand why and how our program differs from a behavioral or team-based model of feeding therapy that many centers provide. Our team is comprised of medically educated speech pathologists who are experienced and trained in the latest technology and approaches in pediatric dysphagia, therefore we understand the medical model and its components driving the feeding/swallowing dysfunction. We are fortunate to have many medical specialties & subspecialties that support our approach from across the globe.
If you would like more information or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 732-698-1100. We look forward to speaking with you!