Dysphagia / Swallowing Disorder
Dysphagia occurs when a person has swallowing difficulties. This puts the individual at risk of aspiration (a process where food/fluid enters the lungs). When aspiration occurs, it puts the child/adult at risk of developing lung infections or aspiration pneumonia, and in very severe cases, this may eventually lead to death.
Treatment for dysphagia depends on the type or cause of the swallowing problem. A myriad of approaches may be recommended to your child/adult. These may include:
Direct therapy methods include:
- Swallowing exercises or head and neck exercise. Certain exercises may help coordinate your swallowing muscles and re-stimulate the nerves that trigger the swallowing reflex.
- Oromotor exercises for the jaw, tongue and lips may also be recommended. This is useful if the child/adult has difficulties coordinating the muscles of the mouth.
Compensatory strategies may also be recommended. These include:
- Changing the consistency, temperature or texture of foods offered to the child/adult
- Feeding the child/adult using various utensils
- Feeding the child/adult in various positions
- Using certain maneuvers to help with swallowing