Feeding and swallowing disorders (also known as dysphagia) include difficulty with any step of the feeding process. These disorders include developmentally atypical eating and drinking behaviors, such as not accepting age-appropriate liquids or foods, being unable to use age-appropriate feeding devices and utensils or being unable to self-feed.
Feeding Therapy helps a child with feeding and swallowing disorders who may refuse food, accept only a restricted variety or quantity of foods and liquids, or display mealtime behaviors that are inappropriate for his or her age.
Feeding Therapy at Hope, the focus on intervention may include the following:
- Making the muscles of the mouth stronger;
- Increasing tongue movement;
- Improving chewing;
- Increasing acceptance of different foods and liquids;
- Improving sucking and/or drinking ability;
- Coordinating the suck-swallow-breath pattern (for infants);
- Altering food textures and liquid thickness to ensure safe swallowing.
At Hope, our specialized team of Speech Language Therapists will work with your child to overcome their feeding and/or swallowing difficulties in a safe way through a feeding therapy plan. Treatment selection of feeding therapy will depend on the child's age, cognitive and physical abilities, and specific swallowing and feeding problems. Depending on the assessment results, intervention may focus on supporting hydration and nutrition, minimizing risk for pulmonary complications, facilitating oral/pharyngeal/respiratory coordination, and modification of behavioural and sensory issues.