What does therapy for Feeding and Swallowing Impairment Include?
My friend asked me the other day "how do you teach someone to swallow?," I responded by saying "it's kind of like physical therapy but for the swallowing muscles."
Swallowing is a combination of reflexes as well as conscious brain functioning as well. Our swallow adjusts based on what we are eating or drinking. Crazy right? At our clinic we use a small endoscope and go in through the nose and then have you eat and drink and we assess each part of the swallow. Are you swallowing too slowly? There are exercises for that! Do you have throat weakness? We can treat that also! Are things going down the wrong way? You guessed it, there is treatment for that!
After we know what is causing your issues swallowing, we show you the video of your swallowing and explain everything that we are seeing. We then make a plan without you about the course of treatment and what exercises we will be doing. We explain each exercises and what is used to target. Based on the reason or why you are having issues swallowing, we can estimate your progress in treatment. The best part of swallowing treatment is making eating enjoyable again and helping you get back to eating your favorite foods.
Did you know that as many as 1/4 of kids are dealing with a feeding disorder. Has your pediatrician disregarded your concerns about your child's feeding skills or picky eating but your parent gut is telling you there is more going on? Feeding issues can be caused from oral weakness or discoordination, GI issues, sensory issues, allergies, and anxiety. Feeding impairment needs to be assessed and treated by a skilled feeding specialist.
What does the feeding evaluation look like? We have you bring food items and your child eats those foods items. We thoroughly assess their chewing skills, oral motor strength, sensory issues and anatomical structures. We then start therapy based on the observations from the assessment. Therapy might include oral motor exercises for strength and coordination, food play, parent education, food exposures and education about nutrition.
If you or someone you know is struggling with swallowing or feeding, please contact us for a free 15 minute phone consultation to see if an evaluation is needed.