What is Dysphagia
What is Dysphagia
Dysphagia describes eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties in premature babies, infants, children and young people. They may have:
> Difficulties sucking, chewing or swallowing effectively and safely
> Choking episodes requiring hospitalisation
> Food or drink going down the wrong way
> Repeated chest infections related to swallowing difficulties
> Difficulties developing their feeding skills
> A medical condition associated with mechanical eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
being born prematurely
chromosomal syndromes, e.g. Down’s syndrome
neurological deficits, e.g. acquired traumatic brain injury
infectious diseases, e.g. meningitis
neuromuscular disorders, e.g. muscular dystrophy
respiratory difficulties, e.g. chronic lung disease,
cardiovascular disorders, e.g. congenital heart disease
craniofacial conditions e.g. cleft palate as part of a syndrome
How do Speech and Language Therapist support feeding difficulties?
Speech and language therapists can assess and identify possible causes of eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. They may request specialist assessments such as a videofluoroscopy swallow study to further assess the problem.
They can support parents and carers in using strategies to help infants, children or young people to manage eating, drinking and swallowing as safely as possible.
They may also suggest specific breast-feeding positions, particular teats to maximise swallow safety, different feeding equipment, texture changes, postural changes or techniques to help make eating and drinking easier and safer.
Speech and language therapists work in hospital and community settings, collaborating with other members of the multidisciplinary team, including doctors, nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists,
occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, community nurses, paid carers and education professionals.
Why do SLTs work with feeding difficulties? – https://www.rcslt.org/wp-content/uploads/media/Project/RCSLT/rcslt-infant-dysphagia-factsheet.pdf
Premature babies and feeding – https://www.bliss.org.uk/parents/about-your-baby/feeding
Breastfeeding – https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding/
Support group – https://www.exeterbabies.co.uk/breastfeeding/where-to-get-help/
Weaning onto Solids – https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/weaning/
Tongue Tie – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tongue-tie/
Lots of our information has been taken from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RSCLT) website – https://www.rcslt.org/speech-and-language-therapy/clinical-information/dysphagia/#section-1
> Hospital Caterers Association