Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation research grant awarded to occupational therapy professor

Dr. Michelle Suarez

Dr. Michelle Suarez, Western Michigan University clinical supervisor and assistant professor of occupational therapy, was recently awarded the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation grant for treatment of food selectivity in children with developmental disabilities.

Suarez will receive $56,282 to examine client outcomes in the Finicky Feeders clinic, part of the Marion R. Spear Occupational Therapy Teaching Clinic in the WMU Unified Clinics, starting in July. She will use the award to help fund treatment for 8 clients who will each receive 23 therapy sessions over a period of 12-months. Students in the occupational therapy program will have the opportunity to assist a licensed occupational therapist in service provision.

The Finicky Feeders clinic serves children who have a variety of medical diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and neuromuscular disorders that may be associated with feeding. The clinic treats children ages one to 12 years with food aversions, food refusal, difficulty with texture transition, self-limited diets, oral incoordination and/or disruptive mealtime behaviors. While the new study will only include subjects with developmental disabilities, the Finicky Feeders program is open to children with a variety of medical diagnoses. Both programs are accepting new clients/subjects.

For more information, contact the clinic at (269) 387-7074 or by email at