About Your Feeding Therapist
Hello and Welcome!
My name is Michelle Sutherland and I am the founder of Sprouts Feeding Therapy. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst certified through the BACB. I graduated from UC Davis in 2006 with a B.A. in Psychology, and I completed my Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at California State University, Sacramento in 2012.
I got my start in feeding therapy in 2007 when I was working in the autism field. One of the little guys that I was working with also happened to have feeding problems. I was trained by his feeding therapist to conduct his meals during school hours. I was surprised that the occupation of “feeding therapist” even existed (are there really that many kids who have trouble eating??), but I was instantly hooked. I loved the idea of being able to help children with such an integral part of their lives, and help families to establish positive, successful meals.
I pursued becoming a part of this specialized field, and in 2008 I became a case manager at Clinic 4 Kidz. In this position, I was able to learn from Dr. Meeta Patel, a preeminent clinician in the feeding realm. I provided intensive home-based therapy to improve feeding skills and food acceptance in the child’s own environment. I learned how important it is to look at every aspect related to feeding to develop an effective treatment plan, and the importance of consistency and practice in establishing successful eating and drinking habits. I have seen, time and time again, that implementing empirically validated treatment strategies produces rapid and positive results!
During this time, I began my studies at California State University, Sacramento. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of feeding in Behavior Analysis by working with my professor and advisor, Dr. Becky Penrod.
From there, I took a position providing clinic-based feeding therapy in a pediatric gastroenterologist's office. By working closely with Dr. Yinka Davies, I had the opportunity to help children with a variety of developmental and medical diagnoses. I gained a great deal of experience working with children of all ages who are feeding tube dependent, exhibit food selectivity, are liquid dependent, and/or exhibit oral aversion. In this fast-paced environment, I learned how to make the most of therapy visits so that the greatest results could be achieved.
I created Sprouts Feeding Therapy to provide flexible and effective services to families who are struggling to feed their child. My goal is to address each child as a unique individual, developing a treatment plan that will help him or her to achieve specific feeding goals while also fostering a strong internal motivation to eat. Therapy is conducted in your home, where your child is most comfortable. I work closely with parents to create a feeding routine that will work best for the child and the family unit. I listen carefully to each parent’s goals for their child and put my focus on meeting those goals as efficiently as possible.
I know that addressing a pediatric feeding problem can be a daunting and overwhelming task for a parent; I am here to help!
Sprouts Feeding Therapy