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Eating Therapy at Zier Institute is important for children and teens who have a complicated relationship with food. Picky eaters. Anxious Eaters. Worried eaters. There are plenty of labels for children and adults who struggle with eating or trying new foods. It’s crucial to look beyond the label and understand the “why” behind picky eating or adverse reactions to new foods.

Karen Dilfer, MS, OTR/L has joined the Zier Institute collective team of occupational therapists as a specialist in feeding therapy. Karen has extensive experience in creating successful treatment plans for picky eaters to Zier Institute’s Feeding Therapy. Her expertise helps children enjoy food and reduce mealtime battles. Karen mentored with Marsha Dunn Klein, MEd, OTR/L, creator of the “Get Permission” approach to mealtimes and an expert in the field of pediatric feeding.


The “Get Permission Approach by Marsha Dunn Klein is based on the belief that feeding is a relationship not only with food but also between parent and child. This method of feeding therapy promotes that eating is based on trust, communication, and responsiveness by the child. Karen’s specific approach to food therapy was featured in a recent Chicago Tribune article. Karen is based in our Chicago clinic, Amy Zier and Associates. She will work with kids and families in Omaha and throughout Nebraska via Teletherapy.

If you have a child that will not eat, teens with particular food choices, cannot eat or do not eat enough to grow, you know how frustrating and concerning eating aversion is for parents and the children themselves. When children turn away from food, struggle to swallow, push food away, or gag at the sight of food, professional intervention can help. Feeding therapy assists children and families to move toward healthy eating habits.

Get started by learning more about Feeding Therapy at Zier Institute today! Complete the online assessment or contact the clinic to begin your family’s path to happy and healthy mealtimes.