Autism Spectrum Disorder Learning Series Feeding and Swallowing Intervention for Pediatric Clients ''A Behavioral and Physiological Overview''


CMHLS - Autism Spectrum Disorder Learning Series


Workshop D

Feeding and Swallowing Intervention for Pediatric Clients

"A Behavioral and Physiological Overview"


Presenters: Dakota Gunter, MA, BCBA, LBA

Carla McNamara, MS, OTRL

Allison Holecek, M.A., CCC-SLP


Date: June 23, 2021

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Location: ZOOM Webinar



Dakota Gunter MA, BCBA., LBA

Dakota Gunter is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst who works at MetroEHS in Saline. Prior  to working at MetroEHS, Dakota worked at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, where she worked under Dr. Amy Drayton at U of M’s Interdisciplinary Intensive Pediatric Feeding Program. Under the direction of a Behavioral Psychologist, Dietician, and Speech Language Pathologist, Dakota received training on how to prevent and wean children from eternal feeding (tube feeding) and how to train parents to implement interventions to increase intake and decrease maladaptive behaviors while also shaping appropriate meal time behaviors through positive reinforcement. Dakota enjoys teaching others effective and evidence-based techniques to make meal times an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Carla McNamara, MS, OTRL

Carla McNamara graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a master's in Occupational Therapy. She has been working at Metro EHS Pediatric Therapy since 2018 and has joined the interdisciplinary feeding therapy team at the Saline location. Carla has been working with the pediatric population since finishing school and has a passion to work with children with sensory processing needs as well as picky eating. She loves working with families and the feeding team to expand food repertoire.

Allison Holecek, M.A., CCC-SLP

Allison Holecek is a Speech-Language Pathologist who works at MetroEHS in Saline. After graduating from Wayne State in 2017, she began pursuing a specialty in children with Autism and Pediatric Feeding. She has completed multiple courses in feeding, including the SOS Approach to Feeding and Food Chaining Therapy. Allison enjoys working with picky eaters because she was once a picky eater herself and knows how great of an impact improving feeding can make on the wellbeing of families.


“Feeding and Swallowing Intervention for Pediatric Clients- A Behavioral and Physiological Overview” will discuss the specific and overlapping roles of the Speech-Language Pathologist, Registered Behavior Technician, and Occupational Therapist in the evaluation and implementation of pediatric feeding and swallowing. Each discipline will present evidence-based interventions within their field to aid with pediatric feeding disorders. A case study in which these three professionals collaborated to increase feeding tolerance for one mutual patient with Autism Spectrum Disorder will be presented.


1. The audience will be able to identify signs of a possible feeding/swallow disorder and will gain the knowledge regarding the structure of the swallow mechanism, evaluation procedures, and role of Speech-Language Pathologist in feeding therapy.

2. The audience will be able to recognize various strategies used across disciplines to aid with increasing texture, quantity, and self-feeding across food items (e.g., food chaining, bolus fading, etc.).

3. The audience will understand the sensory components Occupational Therapists focus on relating to feeding including sight, touch, smell, and taste.

4. The audience will be able to break feeding components down into smaller more manageable steps and identify how to teach these skills to caregivers in order to aid with generalization and maintenance across food items.


0-0:05: Introduction of speakers, professions, and interdisciplinary team approach to pediatric feeding and swallowing

0:05-0:15: Speech-Language Pathologist discusses anatomical structure, evaluation, and safe swallow procedures and strategies.

0:15-0:25: BCBA discusses various intervention plans used by applying basic ABA techniques, such as, antecedent, behavior, and                   consequence, also known as the ABCs of ABA

0:25-0:35: Occupational Therapist discusses the sensory components related to feeding including evaluation strategies and                                intervention approaches.

0:35-0:50: Case Study presentation 0:50-1:00: Summary, time for questions 


Credit Type

Clock Hours

Continuing Education Information



 The DWC is an approved provider of Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative credits.



The DWC is an approved provider of Child Mental Health Professional credits.



The DWC is an approved provider of Qualified Mental Health Professional credits.



The DWC is an approved provider of Qualified Behavioral Health Professional credits.



The DWC is an approved provider of Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional credits.


Registration is required. Walk-ins WILL NOT be permitted. Register to ensure your attendance.

By joining us at this event, attendees consent to Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network's Detroit Wayne Connect photographing, videotaping and using your image and likeness.