We would like to thank all the parents and patients who took the time to compose such beautiful testimonials. Some will say this page is lengthy but we feel words of gratitude from the heart should never be edited.
~Thank You again!
“I can not say enough good things about Nancy and her group, they have helped us so much, listened to us when no one else would, you can feel the compassion they have for each and every child. Being a mom of a special needs kiddo is often exhausting and you feel completely hopeless, but then you go into NJPFA, and you feel it, you feel that you aren’t alone and can reach the goals set by your therapist. I’ve learned so much in the past 1.5 years with our son. It’s truly hard to put into words the gratitude we all feel for these amazing ladies. The medical field needs more people like you” 😘
Jamie Daniels Croshaw
I am writing to compliment and thank you for the work you have done with Madeline. After searching for 1.5 years and trying different speech/feeding programs we finally found Nancy. I cannot express how indebted we are to Nancy Calamusa, MA, CCC-SLP and the staff at New Jersey Pediatric Feeding Associates & Therapy Center. After leaving various SLP (feeding specialists) that told me that my daughter would never chew, we were greeted by Nancy Calamusa with open arms. Those arms have never closed. My daughter has made incredible progress. She went from eating only purees to chewing various foods from multiple food groups in just a few weeks. No therapist has ever taken the time to teach me how to help her. I understand when you explain what I need to do to facilitate chewing and swallowing. I knew from the minute I met you that Madeline would be able to chew. You're awesome! I'm so glad you are her therapist.
New Jersey Pediatric Feeding Associates is amazing! The office staff is very friendly and helpful. Jenna worked wonders with my son. He went from eating only chicken nuggets to a wide variety of healthy food! I can't thank her enough for what she did for my son, me and my family! I highly recommend.
Absolutely AMAZING work is being done at NJPFA! My son, Kaden, was born with CHARGE Syndrome - he had a weak suck and swallow, unilateral facial palsy, laryngomalacia and was found to be heavily aspirating his food. He was never able to take anything by mouth - we brought him home with a G Tube at 2.5 months old. After a year of taking care of various other medical issues, we were finally ready to tackle his feeding issues. I brought him to St Joseph's feeding program, at the recommendation of several of his doctors, who insisted they had the best feeding program in the state. What a joke - they were not willing to try anything except a dry spoon with my son, and made me feel like a failure for being unable to coerce my orally traumatized son to take a spoon. I was so beaten by their program, it took me another half year to finally try again - this time with NJPFA. And what a world of difference it was. Right away, Nancy had him on Vital Stim and never made me feel as if I was failing my son. She has worked diligently with Kaden for the past 2 years, slowly exercising his swallow muscles, working on his oral aversions and even helping me with many of his behavioral issues! She took a child who would turn blue in the face and pass out at the mere sight of anything near his mouth and transformed him into a child who is now willingly and happily putting small chunks of food into his mouth!!! Kaden still has a long way to go until he is feeding himself exclusively orally... But with Nancy and her amazing team, I have no doubts that he will get there eventually!!!!
Dear Nancy & NJPFA Team,
Our child have reached her goals very quickly✨
You and the therapists at NJPFA are enthusiastic, well trained, & collaborative
Thank you for all you have done and accomplished with Rosziebel in particular Nancy for working directly with my daughter needs even when she had her attitude moments & rolling eyes
I cannot stress enough how lucky & bless in meeting & having you guys in our lives! It's so exciting to see what the future will bring us; you've changed out lives
Love Rosziebel, Rosemary, & Abel
I just wanted to write this email to let you know how grateful and thankful we are that we had you, Jenna, and your amazing team at NJPFA.
When we came you to you, our daughter's feeding habits were horrendous. She was born with respiratory distress, which worsened to a significant cardiac issue and she didn't have the stamina nor the control to take the bottle. She was in the NICU for 3 weeks. This had developed into a bad aversion which caused her to hysterically scream and cry every time she saw the bottle or tried to be fed.
We have spent the past 5 months going back and forth to the hospital due to weight gain issues, specialist appointments, and force feeding. The DREADED force feeding. Knowing that we had to ensure that our daughter get in the calories that she needed, we resorted to force feeding with a syringe and a spoon, to try and avoid a NG tube or a gastric tube as the doctors feared she would be put on one. She had weight gain issues which led to constant weight checks. It would take over an hour to feed her, with our daughter screaming every single time, 5-6 times a day. We became secluded in our home, not being able to find care for her once I went back to work due to her feeding issues, and honestly, just an exhausted drained feeling and a guilty feeling on why we couldn't feed our child. What was wrong?
We came to you emotionally, mentally, and physically damaged and exhausted and you gave us hope. After meeting with us and evaluating our daughter, you gave us words no others could, "We can help you." Those words were music to my ears. You were able to diagnose a significant tongue tie that no one in the NICU could see. We were seen by 3 speech therapists and 2 lactation consultants and none of them said her tongue tie would be an issue. You explained to us how wrong that was. You were able to tell why our daughter developed an aversion to eating and how we could fix it. You were in contact with our pediatric GI as well explaining your plan and needs and even then our doctors told us that we would be in good hands with you; that you really know your stuff. And boy do you really know it!
Our daughter now takes the bottle, drinks from the training cup, and loves her solid foods. She is a completely different baby. So much happier and loves her bottle. You and Jenna, my dears, are miracle workers.
The most important thing, was that not only were you there for our daughter, but you were there for my husband and I. I came to you damaged with my daughter in tow because I could not for the life of me figure out how to feed my child and you helped us in so many ways. If we had not come to you - I don't know how our life would be.
Words can never say how much appreciation we have in our hearts for what you and your team did for us. The care you have for you kids and parents is indescribable. We will forever be grateful to you and what you have done for our daughter and for us.
Tim, Maria, & Lily Flanzbaum
Our daughter, Peyton, was born in May 2010 at 27 weeks gestation and weighing only one pound, seven ounces. She spent four months in the NICU, which were filled with many challenges and obstacles. One of the major concerns that we had leaving the NICU was her feeding, as she was described as “not a good eater” when it came to bottle feeding.
Peyton gained weight and grew, however around a year of age, we noticed that she was having difficulty transitioning to more solid foods. We sought the help of a feeding therapist, hoping that this therapist could evaluate and provide strategies for our daughter to eat more age appropriately. During that time, we were told that our daughter was a behavioral child when she spit food and refused to eat, and we just needed to be tougher with her at home and use behavior modification techniques. This continued for months, and Peyton made minimal progress.
During the early summer of 2011, she plateaued in her feeding skills, and we expressed a high level of concern about her constantly vomiting food and sounding like a coffee grinder when she swallowed. Feeling utterly frustrated and helpless, we searched the internet for other feeding therapists in the area, and even considered sending her to an in-patient program for intensive feeding therapy. I think of that July day when I came across New Jersey Pediatric Feeding Associates and Nancy Calamusa on the internet as a sign from God that we would finally be given the help we needed. We believe that people come into your life at times of despair for very specific reasons, and Nancy certainly was one of those people.
A week later we met Nancy, who immediately picked up on a number of issues and difficulties with Peyton’s feeding and swallowing skills. She sent Peyton for a modified barium swallow study. We remember that day as one of the worst days of our lives. We were told that Peyton was aspirating on all types of liquids, except for honey thickened liquids. We realized that she was not a behavioral child because she refused to eat or spit food, rather she was protecting herself from aspirating on her food and liquids. We were told of the dangers of this possibly fatal condition, which was undiagnosed for two years by her former feeding therapist and former pediatrician. Because of the severity and risk of aspiration pneumonia, the doctors wanted to immediately put a feeding tube into her. Nancy sat with us that day, calling our doctors and several specialists to get them to agree to trying VitalStim therapy. She calmed us down and assured us that she would take care of Peyton and everything would be okay. After hours, they finally agreed, and we prayed that it would work so she wouldn’t have to be faced with another procedure and challenge in her life. After 14 sessions of VitalStim, Peyton passed her next modified barium swallow study with flying colors, all because of Nancy.
She still continues to see Nancy weekly for feeding therapy. Nancy can only be described as our angel- she changed our lives, and in many ways she helped to save our marriage last summer. Having a child with a disability puts a great deal of stress on us as parents, and when Peyton was not eating, my husband and I took it out on each other and fought constantly. Nancy not only changed Peyton’s life, but she was there every step of the way for my husband and me. At times, she would tell me to leave the room when I would break down crying out of frustration. She knew what we needed as parents, and more importantly, she truly knows our daughter and exactly what she needs.
Nancy has even helped us with Peyton’s preschool placement, providing support and guidance and making sure that the school will be able to feed her safely and appropriately. After a long day working with patients, she wouldn’t hesitate to call and just get updates on where we were in the process because she couldn’t stop thinking about Peyton. She truly loves our child and wants what is best for her.
Being a special educator, I appreciate how much Nancy truly loves the work she does and each and every child she works with. She would do anything for our daughter, including taking our late night e-mails, texts, and phone calls. Nancy puts her heart and soul into her business and helping children. There is never a time that we don’t feel that she isn’t there for our child or does not know why Peyton is doing something or acting in a certain way. Her knowledge and experience is immeasurable, and she is simply the BEST at what she does. She is such an incredible person and someone who will be in our lives for many years to come. I only wish that we found her sooner, but I am so glad that Peyton and all of her other patients have her now!
Good afternoon. Hope all is well. Felix and I would like to thank you so much for helping us out with Matthew. You have truly made a difference in our lives. I introduced pizza to Matthew the other day and he chewed all by himself and really enjoyed it. In addition, he loves the freeze dried peas you suggested as well. We see a lot of improvements in his eating since our sessions. We will definitely contact you in the near future if there should ever be an issue again. Thank you so much again. We really appreciate everything you have done for us. Hope you have a great summer.
Katherine and Felix Veksler
Hi Nancy! How are you? It has been a long time since we have seen you but, I really wanted you to know that we think of you often. We Just came home from a family trip to Disney. My sister and I were watching Sophia eat and eat and eat. My sister turns to me and said “Wow, she has come a long way.” Al and I looked at each other with huge smiles on our faces. I then told my sister how we were so lucky that we found you and how you literally changed our lives!!! She asked if I have you ever told you that and I was embarrassed to say no. That is why I'm writing to you now!
I remember the first day we met. I was a complete mess, I had a beautiful baby girl. Within five weeks after her birth she was on a feeding tube, and was then diagnosed as failure to thrive. How does this happen??? I was at the doctor every week because of her constant crying only to be told she had colic. I had a baby that is in CHOP for 3 weeks because of terrible reflux. I am writing this as I’m crying because it brings back such terrible memories for me.
They discharge me with a newborn baby that has a NG tube, telling me not to worry she will only need it for a short time..
What a joke that was! Within the first week of bringing her home she is still screaming and now projectile vomiting. I called CHOP and was told to give her time, spoke to their feeding clinic who said that she was fine.
I knew at that point things needed to be done. I researched online and found you. The minute you met us, you knew what was wrong. Helped me find the BEST GI DR ever too!!!
I can’t thank you enough for helping Sophia and I. She came to you refusing to drink from a bottle or eating any solids.
You helped us overcome our power struggles. Showed us tricks and gave us the best advice. You helped me realize that Sophia didn’t need to drink from a bottle, she could drink from a sippy cup or even an open cup at such a young age.
Thank you for answering my panic phone calls and e-mails. Thank you for never making me feel that I was bothering you. THANK YOU FOR CHANGING OUR LIVES!
Sophia is going to be two next week, we have our last follow-up visit with Dr.K in a few weeks. I know that Dr. K will be so excited to see how well Sophia is doing.
I hope at some point we can come see you, I would love for you to see Sophia.
Thanks again Nancy. If there is anything we can ever do for you please do not hesitate to call us…
Al, Danielle, Sophia
We just had to share- Jordyn is doing beautifully with the straw!
Last night she tried to eat taco meat and she actually swallowed it!!! She had 2 servings of yellow rice. Followed by a mini vanilla and chocolate ice cream cone.
That was the best Hanukkah present we could have gotten!
Happy Holidays !!!!! You certainly deserve it!
All the best,
Donna and Brian
OMG, I can't tell you how thankful we are. Max is doing GREAT since Wednesday. He's chewing & swallowing like a champ. We can't believe it! You have given us some magic tricks. We are also noticing less fussing. I think he's really proud of himself.
We also started the pull game with the grabber today & he did well.
After months & months of trying & frustration, just our first session made such a dramatic improvement. HE IS EATING!!! Thank you so much!!!
Judi & Chris
Selective Easting Disorder in a 17 year old young woman:
Ever since I was four or five, my eating hasn’t been quite right. At a young age I began rejecting certain textures of foods and eventually cut out entire food groups. As a sixteen year old, this left me ordering off of kid’s or appetizer menus whenever we went out and always checking the menus beforehand. My social engagements were limited because I constantly worried about food. I was always embarrassed to eat in front of other people so I tried to limit my public appearances. This often left me alone, frustrated, and embarrassed. Every year, at my annual checkup, my pediatrician would scold me for my eating habits, but I couldn’t change them, no matter how hard I tried. I became afraid of food.
Thankfully, during the summer after my junior year of high school, I stumbled upon an article on the front page of yahoo.com that talked about Selective Eating Disorder. As I read the article, which talked about this condition, I immediately knew it applied to me. I shared it with my mom and she agreed to make me an appointment with a psychologist for that August to see if I could be helped. We both knew that if I didn’t change, I might not be able to go off to college the following year.
In the time between finding the article and seeing the psychologist, I reached my ultimate low. My boyfriend was graduating from high school, and I really wanted to attend. The only issue was the dinner afterwards, which I had to attend if I went to the graduation. His mother printed out the menu of the restaurant for me, and after looking at it I realized there was nothing I could eat there. I cried for hours, embarrassed by my own eating habits. I ended up going to the dinner, but not eating anything. The other guests at the dinner were too polite to ask why I didn’t eat. Two months later, at my psychologist appointment, the doctor knew she couldn’t help me. Thankfully, she did know who could. She referred me to Nancy Calamusa at NJPFA and my mom started asking around to see how effective she was. We heard from numerous doctors that Nancy was the best around—and it’s true, people come from hours away to see her. Luckily I live much closer than that. At my first appointment, I realized how bad my eating had really become. My muscles were weak from only chewing on one side of my mouth. I was also chewing my food all the way in the back of my mouth. My eating physically was at the level of an 18-month old. By this time, I was seventeen, so this was a real eye-opener. The list I made of “acceptable” foods was very short—it consisted of breads, cheeses, foods made with a combination of the two, peanut butter, pizza, junk food, French fries, cereal, strawberries, cantaloupe, and grapes. With just 9 months to go until I left for college, I was incredibly motivated to make a change. Nancy helped me develop the muscles in my mouth that were lacking, and I re-learned how to chew. One of the biggest challenges for me throughout therapy was learning how to eat foods that my friends had grown up eating, but beginning by improving the strength of the muscles in the weaker side of my mouth (my left side) definitely made it easier. The first new food that I tried—and I will never forget this—was a salad. I ate it with a blindfold, as I would do with many other foods in the future, to eliminate an imposing appearance that might deter me from approaching the food with the right mental attitude. Nancy helped me learn how to deal with the different textures of the components of the salad by teaching me various coping strategies. These strategies carry over from food to food and I continue to use them today. At times during therapy, I found myself mentally cursing Nancy. I didn’t mean it though, as she’s a wonderful person and I really appreciate everything that she’s done for me. All of those times I was mentally cursing her out were worth it, because in the end I was able to try foods that I never would have on my own. Today, trying new foods is easy for me, and I don’t need the blindfold. I was even recently able to eat the pasta at prom. Before therapy, I never ate pasta and I certainly never ate anything I hadn’t specifically ordered. I have also taken to ordering things at restaurants when I’m not sure what they are. I like the process of trying something completely unknown, breaking it down, using my strategies and figuring out what it is and if I like it. My diet has grown to include quinoa, tofu, tomato soup, fried shrimp, salad, yogurt, most vegetables (especially eggplant), pasta, guacamole, apples, pears, and lo mein—just to name a few. I love going out to eat because I love to read the menus, something I never did before I started seeing Nancy. I also love to impress my childhood friends with my new diet, since they’ve grown up with my food issues. I feel extremely confident and ready to go off to college six hours away from home in August. Seeing Nancy has changed my life and I know that every week with her was worth it. At one session, she told me that I was bigger than the food. Looking back, I can see that I really was. All I needed was a little help to realize it.
On this day after Christmas, I am compelled to share that, thanks to the skill and hard work of a team of medical professionals, my family enjoyed the greatest of Christmas gift we ever could have hoped for -- my son, Lucas, eating… and eating… and eating. On December 23, Lucas completed treatment at the Penn State Hershey Feeding Program. The next day, for Christmas Eve dinner, to everyone’s delight, Lucas ate shrimp cocktail, sausage, several helpings of broccoli, 3 bowls of soup, an adult-sized portion of pasta with seafood sauce, etc., etc. We actually had to cut him off. The looks on the faces of Lucas’ grandparents and aunts/uncles were priceless. Nobody could believe their eyes. And, two days later, I’m still smiling. None of this could have happened without Nancy Calamusa of New Jersey Pediatric Feeding Associates (in New Brunswick), Dr. Keith Williams of the Penn State Hershey Feeding Program, and Katherine Riegel, M.A. of the Penn State Hershey Feeding Program. Well before Lucas started at the Penn State Hershey Feeding Program, Nancy Calamusa did what St. Joseph’s and Early Intervention simply couldn’t – she literally taught Lucas to chew, and she did it with the utmost confidence, professionalism, and care. She built the very foundation upon which Lucas would eventually grow, and she steered us in the right direction (to Hershey) to address his behavioral feeding issues when circumstances required a swift resolution. Nancy and the results that she delivered gave us hope after a terrible and discouraging few months at St. Joseph’s. Without her, we would have been completely lost. At Nancy’s recommendation, we enrolled Lucas in the intensive day program at the Penn State Hershey Feeding Program to address lingering behavioral feeding issues. She was right on with that recommendation. Dr. Williams and Kathy are a formidable team that transformed our (severely) picky-eater son into a happy, healthy eater. I had planned to take significant time off from work in order to observe Lucas’ therapy, but after just two days, I knew with certainty that my presence was not needed. Lucas was in the right hands, at the right facility, and they clearly knew what they were doing. Why did I feel this way? Because every question had a swift and confident answer. Because when I asked whether Dr. Williams and Kathy felt like they could help Lucas, they gave a little smirk and said, “absolutely.” Because it was clear that whatever challenges Lucas brought were ones that they had seen before and overcome (in kids with far greater issues). And, finally, because Kathy started delivering results as early as day 2. So, I went home, and returned only here and there because I missed my wife and son, not to stay on top of the therapy. The results kept coming and coming, and culminated in the best Christmas ever. We will always remember the little, unassuming building in Hershey next to the gas station – among other things, it’s where Christmas magic is made. I know that any patients of your office with feeding issues would be thrilled to work with Nancy (in NJ), Dr. Williams (in PA), and Kathy (in PA). Having also experienced St. Joseph’s and Early Intervention, I know that there’s no better choice.
Our journey together goes back a long way. My daughter, Swathi, is 11 years old now. But we have known you for about 10 years. You turned her life around not once but twice. Having diagnosed with a life threatening disorder which ended Swathi with a gtube placement, we almost lost hope that she couldn't eat anything by mouth. But, you proved it wrong. Through your expertise, empathy, compassion, and dedication to treating even the sickest children, you made her eat for pleasure. What that meant to our family was when everyone else was eating, Swathi would taste food too rather than just the machine pump formula to her stomach. Those sessions not only were therapeutic for Swathi, but also for myself. Being a new mother who was lost in the world of disability, you guided me in the right direction in connecting me with other parents who were of enormous help.
Fast forward 9 years, and we needed you again because Swathi was diagnosed with a serious GI condition that left her unable to eat by mouth for two years, and she failed the swallow study. Swathi's GI refused to recommend any other therapist even though she knew that your schedule was full. You made a slot available for Swathi, worked your magic with the help of vital stim, and here Swathi is eating a like champion after she passed the swallow study with flying colors all in a matter of less than three months. This would not have been possible without you, and I don't know how to thank you enough for your knowledge, care, and kindness. You are an angel on earth for children like Swathi. I wish continued success to your practice.
Our beautiful daughter was fed by nasogastric tube from birth. She was and remains a mystery to all medical staff; a normal baby developing as she should but with an unsafe swallow. It was a devastating conundrum and as a mother, at the time, I researched the internet obsessively, day and night looking for answers. That’s how I found Nancy, ‘a feeding expert’. There was something about Nancy Calamusa that spoke to me above all the rest as the USA is full of feeding experts, an area not so common over here in the UK. I sent her lots of difficult questions to answer and when I read her replies, my gut feeling was go to Nancy. Within 2 weeks of discharge from Hospital, my whole family uprooted from Scotland to come to New Jersey for 3 months to work with Nancy on an intervention programme when my daughter was 4 and a ½ months old. Nancy’s intervention programme sent her on a challenging journey that saw her tube free and orally feeding on thickened fluids and soft food within a month of returning home. I can hand on heart say we would not be where we are today with our daughter as an oral feeder, had we not met Nancy Calamusa. There were and continue to be, ups and downs along the way, extreme highs, extreme lows, many unknowns, but through it all, Nancy has stayed by our side, working with us for our daughter’s progress, never abandoning our hope that one day she would eat safely by mouth, giving tips on what to do, the steps to take in her feeding skills during treatment and long after when we returned home. Nancy is a one off; she is extremely wise in the field of infant feeding/swallowing, very generous with her knowledge and time, and she has a huge heart that genuinely cares and cries for the kids she treats. Her service is second to none. I see Nancy as the original pioneer who pulled the tube from my daughter and set her adrift on a self healing course, destination, the freedom and joy to eat by mouth. Thank you Nancy for all your kindness to our family and helping our daughter during a very dark phase in our lives.
With kindest wishes from,
Ella’s mum and dad, Scotland
If there were words in this world that I could put to paper they still wouldn't be sufficient to explain the gratitude I have in my heart. Facing the real possiblity of having a G-tube inserted for my daughter was frightening. I understood all of the doctors and specialists but what I didn't understand was how this could be happening to my beautiful girl. How could I fail my daughter? How come I can't get her to eat? How did I let this get this far? How come everyone kept telling me "don't worry she's a picky eater;" and "she will eat just do this or that."
As I told you, I was referred by my doctor to a large center in north Jersey. After speaking with them I realized that this would not be the best choice for my daughter or my family. I am SO happy we researched and found YOU!!! I remember saying to you when we spoke that I didn't know there were people who did what you do. I was amazed at the wealth of knowledge you had and I always left your office more educated and confident. I cannot believe in 3 SHORT months how everything has changed!!!! Katherine was challenging but you were persistent and gained her trust and in 2 sessions she was placing new foods in her mouth. The day she drank 4 ounces of milk and completed 1/2 of sandwich blew me away! THAT WAS SESSION 6! I know my documenting her every achievement must have made you crazy but I am so glad I did because I can now share her progress with others. I want people to know that when they feel hopeless and at the end of their ropes there is HOPE. You gave us that; you supported us; you gave us strength; and you cared...genuinely cared about my daughter! For all of those things I will be eternally grateful. I thank you, my family thanks you, and most of all Katherine thanks you for your love and true belief in her!
Just wanted to thank you so much again for helping us and to also give you an update on Alex. That day after we saw you on Monday, he took in about 5 ounces while awake. I was really excited but didn't want to get my hopes too high yet. On Tuesday - 12 ounces and yesterday, he took about 16 ounces,all while awake. I have also been feeding him the rice ceral during dinner and he is enjoying it so far. We are all really happy/extremely excited that he is making progress. Thank you so much!
Thank you for working with us and I truly appreciate everything you have done for us. It is refreshing to find professionals that care so much about my child. I am so very excited that we have averted the tube! Words cannot express our gratitude for that you both have done.
"You are my last hope......"
Diana was born with tuberous sclerosis which caused her to have seizures and be severely delayed in physical and mental development. When she was at the age where eating by instinct became eating by learning, Diana contracted RSV. After she recovered from RSV, she was unable to eat food or swallow liquids so she had to be tube fed through her stomach.
Diana had many feeding therapists try to get her to eat and she was evaluated by a "highly acclaimed feeding insitute," but Diana still could not eat or drink and I was resigning myself to the fact the she would have to be tube fed for the rest of her life.
We were lucky enough to have Nancy enter our lives when I was out of hope. Nancy knew that Diana could eat even through she refused to open her mouth. Nancy's experience and resourcefulness overcame Diana's fear and aversion to eating. With Diana's history of aspiration pneumonia, the school staff was afraid to feed her by mouth.
It took a battery of tests, phone calls and meetings to have the school staff feed Diana, but Nancy made sure that nothing was going to impede Diana's success. Nancy's training of the school staff to feed Diana enabled them to begin feeding Diana on a daily basis. Diana will now actually open her mouth food, feed herself, and reach for food items indicating that she would like a bite.
It was a long road and Nancy is the "ultimate cheerleader." She never gives up!! Whenever Diana took the tiniest bite or did the tiniest shadow of a swallow (which was difficult to see at first) she would give a great cheer and provide Diana with such adulation that it would encourage me to keep on trying and hoping. I felt that not only were our sessions with Nancy for Diana's benefit, but also my own. It was Nancy's "heart" and knowledge that got us where we are today. Eating!
Nancy was able to accomplish what no other therapist, doctor, or specialized acclaimed feeding institute could. She fixed my Diana and made her learn how to eat and actually like eating!
Mother of Diana Trischetta
"I firmly believe that what makes her exceptional at feeding therapy is her intense understanding of the processes involved and her passion for her patients. "
In my role as a Neonatologist, I have the opportunity to interact with many professionals and people involved in all aspects of children’s rehabilitation. I have worked at five different academic ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" ?university hospital centers in the Tristate Area and never have I met a feeding therapist with the level of understanding of the anatomy and physiology involved in their area of interest that Nancy has. I firmly believe that what makes her exceptional at feeding therapy is her intense understanding of the processes involved and her passion for her patients. I regret that she is no longer working with me in a hospital setting because it makes my job that much harder to be with out her knowledge and expertise in the unit, but I know her services are needed in an outpatient setting where she continues to provide excellent care for her patients . I am a big fan and support all the work she does to help those children who need it most.
David Sorrentino MD
Division Chief, Neonatalogy
Robert Wood Johnson University Hosptial
Bristol Myers Squibb Children's Hospital
Professor of Pediatrics
Rutgers University Medical School
Department of Pediatrics
Division of Neonatology
"I am writing to thank you so much for providing my son Jerry with your excellent feeding and speech therapy and kind care."
We were very fortunate to get to know your professional services this spring when our school district asked you to evaluate Jerry's development in the areas of feeding and speech. Jerry is a four year, nine month old boy with a much premature birth and other complicated medical history. He had serious development delay in feeding and speech. Before he got therapy at your clinic, he cannot chew or eat solid foods. He often vomitted. He did not speak much, and his pronunciation was not clear or correct. From June of 2009, Jerry started to receive your therapy services at your clinic, once a week. With your efficient and professional techniques and methods, Jerry has made very significant progress in feeding and speech so far. Now he can use teeth to chew solid foods such as cookies and cooked chicken. He can tolerate enough amount of foods and does not vomit. He speaks more words with much improved pronunciation. As Jerry continues to get your great care, he will catch up with other kids in the near future and get ready for his regular academic learning. I really much appreciate your excellent care and help.
With best wishes!
"Your genuine excitement during every step of Gabriella’s progress was contagious and motivated Gabriella to thrive."
I feel so fortunate that my doctor recommended for my daughter, Gabriella, to see you for feeding therapy. When we first met you, Gabriella was 8 months old and refused to drink from a bottle. She relied on her feeding tube for virtually all of her nutritional needs. Now, thanks to all your efforts and guidance, Gabriella is eating and drinking just like any other child her age!
Throughout our feeding sessions, you were a constant source of information and offered me the emotional and therapeutic support that I needed to help me through this most difficult time in my life. You recognized my anxiety about watching Gabriella struggle to eat and drink. Your positive attitude, extensive advice, and sincere encouragement turned constant mealtime struggles into pleasant mealtimes for both Gabriella and me.
You were our biggest cheerleader every time we came into your office! Your sincere love for children and your desire to help every child reach their utmost feeding potential was apparent during each of our sessions. Your genuine excitement during every step of Gabriella’s progress was contagious and motivated Gabriella to thrive. Thanks to you, Nancy, Gabriella now LOVES to eat! She is able to join in our family dinners, enjoy birthday parties, and eat at restaurants just like we have always dreamed!!!
Nancy, we love you and thank you for all of your constant support and encouragement; you’ve changed our lives forever!!!
Robyn , Chaim, and Gabriella
Where do I start? The moment we talked on the phone I knew you were going to be the right person to help me, help Kyle. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated your support and commitment to help us. Working with you for the past three and a half months has been a gift that I could never repay.
In the beginning Kyle’s challenges overwhelmed me. I was depressed and I dreaded every feeding, feeling paralyzed and fearful when he would reject eating (or the way I internalized it, reject me). But you helped me over come all the obstacles in MY WAY. You have helped me earn my son’s trust and how you have taught me I can myself as a mother (and lower my shoulders so that people can see my ears)!
It took so long for me to find someone who understood what I had been going through that now, it’s hard for me to let go of this relationship. Knowing that I could count on you for ideas, tricks and gizmos to help Kyle was something I looked forward to each week. I know that “your work here is done” but none the less difficult to know that I will not have your motivating kick in the ass to push me along week to week!
Nancy, I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for us. I realize that you meet A LOT of people and I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to be the emotional support for all of us, when you have a life of your own. You are a beautiful person and have a true gift for helping people. I am thankful every day that I met you and that you put the time and effort into helping us when we needed it the most.
If you ever need ANYTHING, the “Rear’s” are here for you. I hope that you will stay in touch. I would love to keep this relationship. Who knows, maybe I will be able to give something back to you, as a friend.
"Many people come in and out of our lives, but only few hold a special place in our hearts."
Christa had feeding issues since birth. She cried through every feeding and eventually by 7 weeks old was refusing her bottle altogether. She had been diagnosed by the pediatrician as failure to thrive and having severe reflux.
She was referred to a pediatric GI specialist who put her on 3 different meds daily. Her formula was changed 4 times. Nothing helped. She was still not gaining weight and was not growing.
The specialist suggested admitting Christa in the hospital for further testing and that it was now time to put her on a feeding tube. She also suggested that I take her to see Nancy, a feeding specialist.
I walked in to the appointment with many different emotions. Within minutes, Nancy knew that her problem was coordinating her suck, swallow, breathe and poor muscle tone. She changed the nipple on her bottle, showed me a better way of holding her and she then started drinking. I immediately started crying tears of joy and relief. This was my 3rd baby and I had never experienced anything like this. Nancy was so warm and caring and gave me the confidence that I was lacking from this whole ordeal. Not only did she care for Christa, she gave me, the mom, the emotional support that I needed to get through this.
Within a few weeks Christa learned the rhythm of drinking from a bottle, however, she was still refluxing and refused to feed once again.
The pediatrician and the GI specialist insisted that she be admitted and a feeding tube be put in. They also said she should see a pediatric neurologist because they thought that she might have some sort of a brain defect. Through Nancy’s support, I was able to get through this tough time.
I refused all of this because she had reached all of the appropriate milestones for her age and my intuition told me that they –the doctors-were missing something.
We continued to see Nancy and she once again, thoroughly checked Christa to ensure that she wasn’t missing anything. At this time, she was 4 months and still only 9 lbs. (her birth weight was 7lbs, 11 oz). We both agreed that the doctors were missing something.
I then tried a different approach. My neighbor is a chiropractor and practices homeopathic medicine. Within minutes of checking her, we changed the formula once again, to Alimentum. She immediately went from drinking 2 oz and screaming through a feeding to 8 oz. pain-free.
When I told Nancy that this new “doctor” was coming over, she asked if she could come to my house and watch him treat her. In my life experience, I have never had a professional come “after hours” to see that their patient was okay. Nancy’s dedication and care for the well being of her patients is one truly to be admired.
Christa is now 13 months and about 18.5 lbs. She loves to eat pasta with peas, broccoli, pizza, fruit and cheerios. She has reached all of the milestones of a 13 month old. She is trying to walk. She still drinks her Alimentum through what she calls her “ba-ba”. She never got a feeding tube or has any brain defect.
The only one thing that the pediatrician and the GI specialist did right was referred us to see Nancy. Without Nancy’s support, knowledge, and dedication, the outcome would not be like this. Thank you for being who you are. You are truly heaven sent and an inspiration to all.
Maria Ragosa…..and Christa too!
At 14 months my son had not eaten solid food, never had a Cheerio and if we were able to get 3rd food baby foods into his mouth he gagged, choked and/or vomited. At the time the pediatricians told me to relax, “he was just not ready to eat solid food”. As a first time mother I relied on my instincts and started searching for help on my own. Over the course of the next year we saw many therapists with diagnosis ranging from GI problems to purely behavioral. I was told to stop allowing my baby to manipulate me. None of these responses sat right with me so I kept searching. When I finally found Nancy it was obvious I had met the right person. Nancy recognized my son had sensory issues and weak oral motor skills.
We spent many weeks getting him to trust her and with that came plenty of screaming and tears. Through it all Nancy was nothing but patient, caring, loving and supportive to my son. She built a trust with him and he grew to truly love her.
After a few months, Nancy said we had finished therapy and accomplished our goals. My son was eating at an age appropriate level. His diet had expanded from puree foods only to all textures, consistencies, colors, smells and tastes. I spent our last day with Nancy crying. Partly because I was nervous that he would not continue to do so well without seeing Nancy every week and partly because I was so happy. Once again, Nancy gave me her support and reassured me she was only a phone call away if we started having problems. However, as she predicated he continued to do well and you would never know there was ever an issue.
I never thought the day would come that my son would be eating like any other child his age did. Nancy was always supportive and comforting when at times it seemed like things would not get better. I will always be grateful to Nancy for what she helped us accomplish. I think of Nancy every time my son eats and I see him chew and enjoy his food. She will always hold a special place in my heart as well as in my son’s.
Thank you Nancy for helping us get there.
10 months old- 18 pounds and 28 inches!!!!!!
She loves to eat EVERYTHING!!!
She is happy, healthy, cruising and weaning off Prevacid.
We couldn't have done it without YOU!
Love and thanks,