Neurodevelopmental Feeding and Swallowing Lab


The Neurodevelopmental Feeding and Swallowing (NDFS) Lab is working to establish age standards of feeding skills for children 4 months to 4 years of age to be utilized as a clinical reference to meet diagnostic criteria for PFD. We want all children to have positive feeding experiences and healthy nutrition. The NDFS Lab aims to develop an explanatory model which identifies neurodevelopmental features and feeding skills that contribute to safe advancement of feeding.

The Neurodevelopmental Feeding and Swallowing (NDFS) Lab aims to discover and define age-specific texture and feeding skill development to best assist infants and children who are learning and struggling to eat. We assess oral feeding skills and neurodevelopmental domains in typically developing infants and children, children with pediatric feeding disorder (PFD), and in children with complex medical conditions. Specifically, our analysis focuses on the mastery of oral feeding skills, texture specific feeding practices, mealtime behaviors, and overall developmental predictors for feeding readiness. We evaluate and measure data through the software Observer and Face Reader by NOLDUS. Additionally, we use Biopac for data collection of physiological variables. Feeding development and disorder requires an interdisciplinary focus. We collaborate with nursing scientists, physicians, registered dieticians, psychologists, and other allied health professionals to ensure that we consider all aspects of each child.

To see what our lab is up to, follow our Instagram: @pedsfeedinglab_marquette.

Current Projects:

  • Utilize behavior and physiologic measurement to study feeding skill progression of infants and children 4 months to 4 years of age.
    • Observer Software Behavioral Coding Program
    • Face Reader for emotion recognition                                 
    • BIOPAC Physiology Measures                                     
  • Study feeding outcomes in children with congenital heart defects, history of prematurity, and in children with a history of tube feeding.
  • Analysis of acceptance and refusal feeding rates of typically developing children.
  • Developing App to obtain national and international representation and participation in our research.

How are students involved and can I get involved?

Graduate Assistants, students registered in SPPA 4930 and volunteers all work together in the lab.  Currently most volunteers and students work on coding and reliability procedures however, tasks greatly range - allowing students to learn the many aspects of research!  If interested in volunteering contact us at