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SWALLOWING DISORDERS IN INFANTS AND CHILDREN

By: Nancy Swigert, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

INFANTS AND BOTTLE/BREAST FEEDINGbaby girl drinking water

Infants gain all their nutrition through breast or bottle feeding until they are at least six months of age. The ability to suck successfully from breast or bottle requires the infant to coordinate three actions: suck-swallow-breathe.   Suck is accomplished with slightly different motions on the breast compared to the bottle, but essentially the lips must close on the nipple and the tongue moves in and out in a suckle motion and presses the nipple against the roof of the mouth, creating pressure on the nipple. As the jaw moves down, it helps create suction to pull the liquid into the mouth. The infant then has to swallow the liquid, and the infant must stop breathing during each swallow and then breathe after swallowing. The suck-swallow-breathe sequence then starts again. Many things can interfere with this sophisticated system for swallowing. Here are some examples of possible causes of difficulty with feeding in infants. Many of these problems can continue to affect the child’s ability to eat and swallow as they grow.

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What Parents Should Know About Radiation Safety and Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Studies (VFSS)

 

By: Nancy B. Swigert, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders

and

Vesna Martich Kriss, MD

Pediatric Radiologist, Baptist Health Lexington

 

It has been recommended that your child undergo a video fluoroscopic swallowing evaluation, often called a modified barium swallow, to assess the pharyngeal phase of the swallow. This radiologic procedure exposes your child to x-rays which raises safety questions about the study. Here are some things parents should know about radiation safety and the video fluoroscopic swallowing exam (VFSS).

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When Your Baby Won’t Eat

Byline: Virginia Sole-Smith; NY Times Magazine February 4, 2016

Our daughter started life on a feeding tube. Then we tried to wean her off it and began to understand the complexity of how children relate to food.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/magazine/when-your-baby-wont-eat.html

This is a lengthy article about Violet, a seemingly healthy newborn with a strong natural eating style. But, over the course of a week, Virginia began to decline. The story doesn’t begin with a swallowing disorder, but it evolves into one.

Three quick points, for those of you with still here:

1) At the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, we refer people who contact us to swallowing specialists, physicians, and medical teams worldwide on a daily basis. We do not seek compensation for these referrals nor do we receive a commission from those practitioners to whom we refer people. Our goal is to match the patient with the best and most practical medical professional.

2) We do not provide patient-specific medical advice. As with Violet, every patient is different, and the logical place to begin is with a medical assessment by a specialist versed in that patient’s underlying medical condition and age (pediatric, adolescent, adult, and geriatric) while taking location into consideration.

3) As of this posting, there were over 140 comments. Many of them were from people with infants who suffered a swallowing disorder. It is worth reading the comments. This highlights that swallowing disorders are not a medical condition that discriminates, “Swallowing Disorders can Affect Anyone.” Click here to see our brochure.



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It’s a Scary Time of Year

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Halloween is meant to be a scary time of year. But for parents of children with dysphagia, it can be an especially frightening time of year. To kids, Halloween is the one day of the year where they are encouraged to go door-to-door asking adults for as much candy as they can carry. continue reading →



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“Chewing Can Be Tricky” Dysphagia Coloring Book

donna edwards 2

Pediatric swallowing specialist, Donna Edwards, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, and ASHA Fellow, has created an outstanding resource for children, parents, and professionals to learn about safe eating and to reduce the likelihood of choking. This coloring book includes a long list of fun activities that parents and professionals can use to teach children about safe and healthy eating.

 

The coloring book for young children is now available in three languages! Select your language below:

 

A new coloring book for school-age children is now available!



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Update: GW Researchers “Reuniting Babies and their Bottles”

In March 2015, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Children’s National Healthbaby girl drinking water System were awarded a program project grant for $6.2 million from The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to solve pediatric dysphagia — a symptom found in 35-80% of newborns with neurodevelopmental disorders.

For infants experiencing disorders that cause challenges eating and swallowing, doctors often look to feeding tubes and surgeries as “quick fix” options, interventions that do not directly address the underlying problem(s). A team of multidisciplinary researchers at George Washington University continue to search for a solution to address the underlying neurological impairments.  Click here for the latest information on this research, published in the George Washington University Research Magazine on May 28, 2015: Reuniting Babies with their Bottles