We show our love for one another by giving food. When there is a death in the family, we bring food. When there is a new arrival in the family, we bring food. To celebrate holidays together, we bring food and eat all together. When a child has a feeding disorder, much of these gatherings become stressful for a family.
A feeding disorder is a child’s refusal to eat certain food groups, textures, solids or liquids for a period of time. This may cause the child to not gain enough weight or grow naturally. Once growth and weight gain are impacted, the child should be assessed.
A swallowing disorder, also referred to as dysphagia, is when someone has an anatomical or physiological reason for not being able to swallow normally. A child can have oral phase dysphagia and/or pharyngeal phase dysphagia. Oral phase dysphagia is classified as difficulty with the oral structures (tongue, cheeks, lips, etc.). Pharyngeal phase dysphagia is classified as difficulty with the pharyngeal structures (epiglottis, pyriform sinus, upper esophageal sphincter, etc.). Both oral and pharyngeal phase dysphagia can cause aspiration (the entry of liquid or food into the lungs).
Oral motor therapy is used to strengthen the oral structures and improve their function. Oral motor tasks are non-speech activities that involve the lips, jaw, tongue, soft palate, larynx, and respiratory muscles.