Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How can swallowing therapy help?
Swallowing therapy helps to restore function of the muscles involved in swallowing.  Improving the range of movement and strength of the muscles can increase the ability to clear food from the mouth and throat, as well as improve closure of the airway when swallowing.  Therapy can be an integral part in achieving the ability to eat ta variety of foods and liquids as well as avoiding or reducing the use of alternative means of nutrition (feeding tubes).  Improvement of the swallow can allow for a less restrictive diet, such as moving from thickened liquids (smoothie consistencies) back to thin liquids (i.e. water, juice).  Restoring swallow function can lead to a more fulfilled lifestyle.

Q: Can a person still eat if they have a feeding tube?
Yes, for any food consistency that the Speech- Language Pathologist has determined to be appropriate and safe.  

Q:  What are oral-motor and sensory-behavioral feeding impairments in children?
  Oral-motor feeding impairments include decreased oral strength, range of motion, or coordination necessary for eating.  Sensory-behavioral feeding impairments consist of deficits in oral sensitivity and avoidance behaviors.  A child may exhibit a hyposensitive (reduced sensory) or hypersensitive (increased sensory) response to different food textures. Symptoms may include pooling of food in the mouth, poor chewing abilities, a sensitive gag reflex, or an aversion to the texture for touching or eating certain foods.  Avoidance behaviors can range from mild (turning head) to severe (screaming, crying and refusing food).