There are many actions which have to occur in the mouth and throat in order for us to normally suck, chew and swallow food/drink. Swallowing difficulty can occur at different stages of the swallowing process. In addition to difficulty swallowing, some children have sensory feeding problems. These children are often labeled “picky eaters”, but may have a real oral-tactile defensiveness to certain textures and foods which make feeding difficult.
If you notice your child having some of the following signs, a feeding / swallowing evaluation should be conducted:
- Irritability or lack of alertness during feeding
- Refusing food or liquid
- Failure to accept different textures of food
- Long feeding times
- Difficulty chewing
- Coughing or gagging during meals
- Excessive drooling or food / liquid coming out of the mouth or nose
- Difficulty coordinating breathing with eating and drinking
- Hoarseness, gurgling or poor voice quality
- Frequent spitting or vomiting
- Less than normal weight gain or growth
Our speech and occupational therapists work with your child’s pediatrician to determine the limitations during the swallowing process and develop the appropriate treatment plan to ensure your child can take needed food and liquids. Pediatric therapy helps to improve the strength and coordination of the tongue, mouth and throat to facilitate normal sucking, chewing and swallowing.