Empowered Eating – Responsive Feeding Programs by AZ + A
Nestled in the comfort of our coach house in Lincoln Park, Chicago, our RFT program is unlike any other. Our team of Feeding Specialists and Occupational Therapists partner with your family to help your child overcome feeding challenges and bring joy back to your family’s table.
We understand the fears and concerns parents experience when their child has eating challenges. AZ+A therapists are experts in supporting and coaching parents during emotional and vulnerable times. We’re here for you and your child during therapy and beyond.
AZ+A supports joyful mealtimes by helping parents learn how to offer food and engage children at the table. During therapy, therapists engage children and parents in therapeutic activities that help children build confidence and skill.
We also focus on making therapy fun and feel good for the child and the family.
At the same time, we empower the child to listen, trust, and protect their body. Together, we build a lasting and meaningful relationship with food and eating.
Our holistic approach to feeding centers on connecting parents and children through eating experiences that feel safe and comfortable. Our team of mealtime experts helps families navigate parenting a child with medical, emotional, social, or developmental differences at their family’s table.
The Empowered Eating Program comforts the feeding relationship of parents and children. This starts with AZ+A therapists taking the time to get to know your unique family and tailoring responsive feeding plans to meet your specific needs. You will experience Responsive Feeding Therapy in a natural, home-like environment rather than in a clinical setting.
- Our approach helps children develop confidence: A confident eater has the skills to eat a variety of foods with comfort, trust the textures of food, and can navigate mealtime changes. A confident eater can eat with others and has the skills to politely say no to foods they are still learning to eat.
- We encourage eating enjoyment by helping children find foods and flavors they like, have fun with friends at snack time, eat with a trusted grown-up, and feel celebrated during a family meal.
- Help children find their internal motivation to eat in response to hunger, come back for more of the tastes they like, and enjoy eating with family and friends.
Questions? Contact us today!
From Feeding Intensives to Skill Building, we offer:
One-on-one therapy – available both in-person and online – benefits children and families who experience:
- Developmental experiences that make eating challenging
- Sensory processing vulnerabilities cause them to be sensitive to the textures, smells, and flavors of foods
- Specific medical conditions
- Discoordination/coordination difficulties
- Food allergies
- Social pressure and anxiety
- Picky eating or refusal to eat
- Support for children and adolescents with a diagnosis of ARFID
Mealtime Coaching for Families
In-person or virtual mealtime coaching from the AZ+A Cafe offers:
- An in-depth consultation to identify specific challenges and create relationship and evidence-based mealtime strategies that work for your family’s schedule and situation
- Interactive support for children and parents to promote relationship, connection, and bonding during mealtime
- Parent coaching to learn how to apply feeding strategies to real-life meantime challenges
- A detailed summary of our discussions, strategies, and additional suggestions/materials to share with caregivers, family members, and the child’s doctor
- On-going support available on a weekly, monthly, or as-needed basis
Feeding Tube Weaning
AZ+A offers personalized in-person or online options and packages based on location and needs. Our tube weaning services include:
- Feeding therapy for children who are ready to transition off of their G-Tube or NG tube
- Thorough assessment and collaboration with the child’s medical team
- A written report and step-by-step suggestions for long-term success
- Strategies for the child to move past feeding tube dependency and become a happy, healthy eater
Virtual Parent Coaching
Regardless of the location or availability of local feeding and tube weaning specialists in or near your home, AZ+A brings our specialized feeding therapy to you.:
- Parent coaching for feeding tube weaning or mealtime challenges
- We design a program that works with your schedule that can include any combination of the following:
- Phone calls, live Zoom calls, video reviews of mealtime, text support, and more.
- On-going support as needed to ensure lasting success
All services are billed to insurance or paid out of pocket for clients living outside convenient in-person service areas.
Hear from our parents!
“We have been working with OT Karen Dilfer on tube weaning our son for the past few weeks. Less than three weeks after starting with Karen, our son (who was eating nothing by mouth) received all his nutrition by mouth! We are thrilled and amazed! Karen is wonderful to work with, and even though we live 2 hours from her, we have been able to meet via zoom, which has been really convenient. Karen has great ideas to help kids eat better by mouth, and she is extremely knowledgeable about tube weaning. I would HIGHLY recommend her!”
“When we started working with Karen, one of the OTs at Amy Zier and Associates, my 15-month daughter was barely able to swallow solid food. A GI had recommended a gtube; however, as an alternative to the gtube, someone had recommended OT and Karen. Karen took a thoughtful and individualized approach to my daughter’s care. She patiently worked with Mia each week while partnering with our GI and pediatrician on the best plan for my daughter. With Karen’s support, after a year of working together, my daughter was able to chew and swallow food.”