Cleveland Feeding & Swallowing Therapy Helps Kids Thrive
“Food is life.” When a child has trouble eating healthy or properly, it’s a problem with the potential to impact their health, learning, and social connections. If your child is struggling with eating and swallowing, Cleveland feeding & swallowing therapy from a qualified speech-language pathologist can do wonders.
What Are Feeding & Swallowing Disorders in Children?
As explained by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), issues with feeding and swallowing can significantly impede a child’s health and well-being.
Feeding disorders are those that involve problems with skills like sucking, eating from a spoon, drinking from a cup, or chewing.
Swallowing disorders, also sometimes referred to as dysphagia, are identified when a child has trouble moving food/liquids from the mouth, throat, or esophagus to the stomach. Sometimes this is related to a specific medical issue, but other times, we have no idea what causes it.
Feeding & swallowing are skills that are instinctual, and most of us don’t have to think much or work too hard to be successful with it. But they are actually complex neurological and physiological processes that require a lot of steps and various skills.
Kids can have trouble with feeding and swallowing if they have:
- Nervous system disorders, such as cerebral palsy
- Stomach reflux issues
- Heart disease
- Cleft palate or cleft lip
- Autism (picky eating especially)
- Muscle weakness in neck and face
- Medications that make them not hungry (common with ADHD medications)
- Sensory issues
- Breathing difficulties
How Do I Know if My Child Needs Cleveland Feeding & Swallowing Therapy?
If your child has a condition that is associated with difficulty feeding or swallowing, they may benefit from feeding & swallowing therapy from a speech therapist. But beyond a formal diagnosis, some things you might watch for include:
- Trouble breastfeeding or bottle feeding. May struggle to latch or appear frustrated/in pain during feeding. They might have a tough time coordinating sucking, swallowing, and breathing during feeding.
- Difficulty transitioning to solid foods. May have a hard time managing different textures. Might gag or have a strong aversion to certain foods.
- Frequent coughing or choking. If you notice your child coughs or chokes frequently during meals, it may be a swallowing issue.
- Extreme picky eating. If your child has extreme aversion to all but a few foods, they likely could benefit from feeding therapy.
- Lack of weight gain. If your child isn’t gaining weight as fast as they should, it could be related to feeding issues.
- Gastrointestinal problems. Complaints of reflux, stomach pains, or other gastrointestinal issues might be linked to feeding difficulties.
- Oral motor issues. Weak or poor coordination of oral muscles (tongue, lips, etc.) can contribute to feeding problems.
- Behavior problems during mealtimes. If your child gets major anxiety, distress, or frustration during mealtimes, they may benefit from feeding therapy.
Cleveland feeding & swallowing therapy from Therapy & Wellness Connection aims to address the difficulties kids might encounter in the process of eating and drinking. We work to improve kids nutritional intake, prevent malnutrition and growth issues, enhance oral-motor skills, address sensory issues, promote independence and self-feeding, and reduce the risk of aspiration/choking.
Ultimately, we also help children develop a positive relationship with food. By addressing the challenges that make mealtime difficult, we work to contribute to a healthier attitude toward food and eating – something that our patients take with them the rest of their lives.
For more information about Cleveland pediatric feeding & swallowing therapy at Therapy and Wellness Connection, Contact Us Online or call our office (330) 748-4807. Our services are available in Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Cleveland, Akron and surrounding communities.
More Blog Entries:
Cleveland Pediatric Speech Therapists Detail Top Language Delay Causes, July 6, 2023, Cleveland Feeding & Swallowing Therapy Blog