Feeding and Swallowing Disorders


At Melanie Massey Physical Therapy, Inc., our Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists use a variety of proven techniques to treat feeding disorders.

Feeding disorders range from problems accepting food to preparing to suck, chew, or swallow it. It can also include picky or resistant eaters who are not gaining weight properly. It has been reported that approximately 25% of normally developing infants and 80% of those with developmental issues have feeding problems.

At Melanie Massey Physical Therapy, Inc., our Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists use a variety of proven techniques to treat feeding disorders.

Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia, refers to difficulty in one of the stages of the following stages:

  • Oral Phase – sucking, chewing, and propelling food or liquid into the throat.
  • Pharyngeal phase – starting the swallow, squeezing food down the throat, and closing off the airway to prevent food or liquid from entering the airway or to prevent choking.
  • Esophageal phase – relaxing and tightening the openings at the top and bottom of the esophagus and squeezing food through the esophagus into the stomach.

Issues related to feeding and swallowing can create behavior irregularities, malnutrition, pneumonia, aspiration, isolation in social situations due to embarrassment, and severe distress for the family and child.

Common symptoms include:

  • Arching or stiffening of the body during feeding
  • Coughing or gagging during meals
  • Difficulty breast feeding
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty coordinating breathing with eating and drinking
  • Excessive drooling or food/liquid coming out of the mouth or nose
  • Failure to accept different textures of food
  • Frequent spitting up or vomiting
  • Increased stiffness during meals
  • Less than normal weight gain or growth
  • Long feeding times
  • Recurring pneumonia or respiratory infections
  • Refusing food or liquid

Suspicion of a feeding or swallowing disorder should be discussed with the child’s pediatrician in order to determine medical reasons and potential intervention. Following a referral to a speech-language pathologist, an evaluation may include special tests, such as a modified barium swallow study viewed on an X-ray or an endoscopic assessment in which a scope is inserted through the nose to view the child’s swallow. Typically, the assessment will include background information, the strength and movements of the muscles involved in swallowing, and observation of the child eating related to posture, behavior, and oral movements. It is very common for a team to be involved with a child with a feeding or swallowing disorder. They may include an occupational therapist, speech therapist, physician, nutritionist, and developmental specialist.


Monroe

West Monroe

Ruston

Shreveport

Monday-Friday

8am-5:30pm

Copyright © 2020 Melanie Massey Physical Therapy

Powered by Host Marketing