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Finding Help for Your Child with Dysphagia

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

You’re worried about your child’s feeding and swallowing skills.  Maybe your child is still taking the bottle when her peers are drinking from a cup. Perhaps your child is choking and gagging when eating certain foods.  Or maybe your child, who used to take the bottle with no problems,  screams every time he sees the bottle and refuses to drink.  Or maybe your child has taken the term “picky eater” to new heights; picky doesn’t begin to describe the limited list of foods your child will eat. Perhaps you’ve had to stop taking your child out to eat at restaurants because his tantrums during meal times draw too much attention. Or your child tries new foods, but spits them out and refuses to swallow.

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Swallowing versus Feeding Disorders in Children

The NFOSD team is constantly on the lookout for useful news articles. North Shore Pediatric Therapy posted a website article on Swallowing Disorders vs. Feeding Disorders in Children on October 16, 2012. The article was written by Gretchen Olson, SLP.

We field questions almost weekly from mothers who have young children with Dysphagia. We recognize a pattern of similar characteristics from these frequent contacts. The young child has generally been seen by multiple doctors or therapists over a period of a few years and there is no definitive diagnosis, physical abnormality, or known “reason” why the child is unable to successfully eat. In addition, the amount of time and energy exerted by the mother is draining to the point of near hopelessness.

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Pill Swallowing, Helpful Tips and Ideas

by Jan C. Pryor M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-S

The NFOSD was previously contacted by freelance journalist Janie Rosman. She was writing an article for Today’s Caregiver magazine and asked for some advice on the subject of pill swallowing difficulty. Jan Pryor provided a write up with a few tips and ideas which may help our readership.

A frequent problem for people with swallowing difficulties is taking pills. Usually the trouble is swallowing large pills. There are several options that simply alter the form of the medication.

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Prototype ‘Piercing’ Restores Man’s Ability to Swallow

Surgeon Peter Belafsky had been tinkering with ways to treat oropharyngeal dysphagia–a swallowing disorder that, when severe, can prevent people from being able to swallow at all–for years.

But it wasn’t until he took his two daughters to get their ears pierced–and noticed the woman behind the counter with piercings in her nose, eyebrow, and even cleavage–that he realized how to do it, and a device to manually open and close the esophagus was born.

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Manual Control of the Upper Esophageal Sphincter

Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OPD) is common and costly. In order to improve quality of life for patients and costs to society, better treatments than currently available are needed. The author hypothesized that manual control of the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) is possible by pulling the larynx directly forward with anterior traction on the cricoid cartilage. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of manual control of the UES as a possible therapy for OPD.

Download the PDF to read the full article

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