Course curriculum

  • Course Description

    In this course, participants will learn the various roles in building a positive feeding and food relationship. They will explore mealtime set up, positioning, schedules and environment to promote success in feeding and eventual self-feeding. Participants will also learn typical and atypical lip, tongue, jaw and cheek patterns. They will extend that into learning oral motor tools and imitation exercises to incorporate into their practice. Participants will finish the course with a deep dive into swallowing including: video samples of typical and atypical swallow, phases of a swallow and differences in adult and infant swallows. This will assist practitioners in developing strategies in working with children with swallowing challenges. (.3 CEUs)


Individuals who take this course will be able to:

  • Identify responsibilities of the caregiver, child, and therapist in feeding and building a positive relationship with food

  • Describe ideal mealtime set up, seating/positioning, schedules, and environment for building success in feeding

  • Identify the importance of self-feeding

  • Identify normal and abnormal lip, tongue, jaw, and cheek patterns

  • Describe tools for addressing oral motor needs and how they would incorporate them into their practice

  • understand oral motor imitation exercises and how to apply them and describe how they would incorporate them into their practice

  • Identify typical swallow, phases of a swallow and compare the differences between adult and infant swallows

  • Describe strategies to help children with swallowing challenges and how they can incorporate them into their practice


  • Kristen Burke


    Kristen Burke

    Kristen Burke is an occupational therapist, who has worked in the field of early intervention for the past 17 years. She is the team lead for the occupational therapy and nutrition team at TEIS. In her leadership role, she enjoys supporting the professional development of other therapists. She also works as part of the training module development team at TEIS. She is passionate about collaborating with families to combine her knowledge and experience with their ideas in order to maximize their child's potential. In addition to her work in early intervention, she has worked as a community organizer to support families and community organizations to include children of all abilities.
  • Janet Watkiss


    Janet Watkiss

    Janet Watkiss is a full time pediatric occupational therapist in the Greater Pittsburgh PA area. She practices full time in Early Intervention/ Birth to three years old for the past 17 years. Janet has leadership roles in Reflective Supervision, Onboard training, and EI Coaching Coordinator. Supports colleagues through mentoring and consultation. Her prior work experience includes pediatric outpatient and inpatient OT services related to functional feeding disorders, sensory processing dysfunction, and complex medical and developmental delays within a team approach, and served as a OT consultant addressing specialized feeding concerns of post NICU infants and post multi-organ transplant patients at The Children’s Home and Lemieux Family Center’s Pediatric Speciality Hospital . Janet has extensive training and education in therapeutic feeding strategies, sensory processing disorders, and specialty certification in Infant Mental Health. She is a graduate of Chatham University with a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy ‘99 and has served as adjunct facility in Chatham University’s Occupational Therapy Program since 2015 to present. She is a member of AOTA, NBCOT, Zero to Three Organization, and charter member of PA Association of Infant Health. She resides in Western Pennsylvania. Her roles as spouse, parent, and grandparent are central. She enjoys traveling with her husband to visit family and new destinations.