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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.

We generally refer these mothers to Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) who are Board Recognized Swallowing-Specialists (BRS-S). A link to BRS-S can be found on our Finding Help page. Out of the approximately 175 BRS-S specialists, 30 have listed “infant” and “children over 2 years of age” as their area of expertise. One can also search by state to find help closer to home.  Almost all BRS-S certified clinicians have experience with some type of pediatric swallowing disorders.

In talking with BRS-S clinicians about these cases, the underlying causes are complex and can include other developmental issues as well as the relationship the child has with food. Clinicians tell us that the sooner a disorder is diagnosed and the younger the child is when diagnosed, the better the outcome. Mothers have seen their children thrive with the proper therapy; so there is real hope.

If you have questions about this article or would like additional information on finding help, please leave a comment or send us an email at