Feeding and Swallowing Therapy
We provide services for children and adults who struggle with feeding or swallowing concerns.
Feeding Therapy for Children
Many children struggle with picky eating, but when does it become a problem? You can take this short quiz here to learn if your child would benefit from a feeding assessment.
There are a variety of concerns that warrant feeding therapy interventions, including food aversions, oral aversions, oral sensory/motor impairments, aspiration pneumonia and/or compromised pulmonary status secondary to swallowing deficits; undernutrition, malnutrition, or dehydration; GI complications or concerns, poor weight gain or excessive weight gain, an ongoing need for supplementary nutrition sources (e.g., feeding tubes, liquid nutrition, etc.); and psychosocial effects on the child and their family (ASHA, 2023).
The goal of feeding therapy is to help guide the child to a sense of safety and comfort with food, helping them efficiently and effectively eat and drink. Feeding therapy is provided in a low-pressure, play-based environment that allows the child to explore foods. Feeding therapy includes an emphasis on education and carryover to home and community settings. Goals of therapy focus on improving nutrition, building a positive relationship with foods, improving mealtimes, and attaining age-appropriate feeding skills.
Swallowing Therapy for Adults
Swallowing foods occurs in three phrases – oral phase (mouth), pharyngeal phase (throat), and esophageal phase (the tube that goes from your throat to your stomach). Disordered swallowing can happen in any one or more of these three stages. Disordered swallowing is referred to as Dysphagia, and often requires professional intervention.
Signs of a swallowing problem can include:
- Coughing during or immediately after eating or drinking
- Frequently clearing your throat after eating or drinking
- Having a wet or gurgly voice during or after eating or drinking
- A sensation of something being stuck in your throat or chest after eating/drinking
- Using more effort or time than usual to chew and swallow
- Food or liquid leaking from your mouth
- Food getting stuck in your mouth (roof of mouth, cheeks, tongue).
- Difficulty breathing after meals
- Rapidly losing weight, dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, lung infections, or reflux
Many conditions can cause dysphagia, including stroke, traumatic injury, and degenerative diseases. Treatment of dysphagia addresses dietary changes/supplements, strengthening exercises, strategies to assist with chewing and swallowing, and family/caregiver education.