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Neonatal and Pediatric Dysphagia (Swallowing difficulty)

Neonatal and Pediatric Dysphagia (Swallowing difficulty)

What is paediatric dysphagia?
Some children may have weak muscles for swallowing that stem from a variety of medical conditions may lead to dysphagia (swallowing difficulty). Sometimes, this may lead to food and fluids entering their lungs which may cause chest infections.

Signs/ Symptoms of Dysphagia:
Children who have dysphagia typically present with some of the following signs:

  • Choking, throat clearing, coughing or wet voice during mealtimes
  • Difficulty breathing and/ or loss of skin color during mealtimes
  • Difficulty with saliva management
  • Uncoordinated suck- swallow- breathing patterns for infants during breast or bottle feeding
  • Difficulty initiating swallows
  • Wet vocal quality during mealtimes

How can we help?
We will gather detailed case history and do a thorough assessment which will include:

  • Assessing your child’s oral- facial muscles
  • Observing your child on what he/ she typically eats at home
  • Trial some strategies that might benefit your child

We may also choose to use the following to for more in- depth understanding of your child’s swallowing presentation:

  • Videofluroscopy (VFS) which is a swallowing X-ray taken while your child is eating and drinking
  • Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) where an endoscope is used to look into the larynx when swallowing

After assessment, we will select an intervention approach that will work best for your child which may include the following modifying diet and fluid consistencies and/ or exercises to improve strength and movement of the swallowing muscles.  We might also use Vitalstim Therapy if appropriate.


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