Feeding / Dysphagia Evaluation and Treatment
Our Feeding Disorder or Dysphagia Evaluation thoroughly examines all aspects of your infant/child’s feeding and swallowing abilities. Our evaluation process examines your child's medical history and the impact of feeding stress on your child and family. In our warm home-like office, we gently but thoroughly evaluate the structure of your child’s oral musculature and will observe your child's oral sensory and oral motor function during eating.
We will make sure that the oral motor and sensory systems are intact and not interfering with or contributing to your child’s feeding disorder and swallowing problems. We also look at your child’s overall muscle tone, respiration and phonation, ribcage development and movement, indicators of tongue and lip tie, reflux, allergy or other GI issues, and behaviors that may pertain to feeding and swallowing.
In addition to identifying potential problems with your child’s feeding skills, we will identify the safety of your child's swallowing ability. Specifically, identifying the risk for obstruction or aspiration (the entrance of food/liquid into the airway). These dangerous conditions can result in coughing and choking, frequent illnesses including colds and congestion, breathing problems and pneumonia.
Oral Pharyngeal Motility Study - Modified Barium Swallow Study
An Oral Pharyngeal Motility Study (OPMS) or Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS), the “gold standard” evaluation of swallowing, is a videofluoroscopic (videotaped x-ray) study of oral (mouth), pharyngeal (throat) and upper esophageal anatomy and physiology to allow for more through evaluation of your child’s swallowing abilities.
Your child will swallow a variety of his or her foods and liquids coated with barium. A contrast substance that enables the food to show up on x-ray. This study of swallowing provides information about the risks of aspiration. We will use the results of this evaluation to guide treatment programming specific to your child’s specific needs.
Our practice is the only freestanding outpatient facility in Florida that has the expertise to read these specialty studies for their patients.
Myofunctional therapy corrects the improper function of the tongue, lips, jaw and other facial muscles (oral muscles). It improves eating, talking and breathing.
It involves neuro-muscular re-education, which simply stated entails strengthening of oral muscles, training correct us of oral muscles and oral postures and increasing range of motion.
Oral myofunctional therapy is a vital pre-op and post-op component for individuals with lip and/or tongue ties.
Myofacial Release Therapy
Myofacial release is a manual therapy technique correcting restrictions in muscle and connective tissue, improving one’s ability to develop muscular tension for functional generation and successful eating, talking and swallowing.
At Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing, Myofacial Release techniques will likely be incorporated into Dysphagia/Feeding Therapy (infants and beyond), Speech Therapy and Myofunctional Therapy.
Speech and Language Evaluation and Treatment
Speech is the way sounds are pronounced or articulated. Language is a process which involves listening, understanding and using words for communication. Language is divided into two parts: receptive and expressive language. Receptive language is the understanding of words and sounds. Expressive language is the use of speech (sounds and words) and gestures to communicate.
Recently, the Journal of Pediatrics, reported a study that concluded that children who experience feeding problems were twice as likely to have delays in developmental milestones. We confirm that report based on our clinical experience. Many of the children that we help with feeding and swallowing difficulties, also have speech difficulties. Working on both issues is more effective. It is also convenient for parents to have both issues addressed at one time.
eSwallow Therapeutic Intervention
eSwallow is a breakthrough therapeutic intervention that uses a specialized form of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)specifically designed to treat dysphagia. NMES has a proven, long-term track-record. The eSWALLOW electrodes and stimulation unit have been cleared by the FDA for dysphagia treatment.
eSwallow therapy is a non-invasive external electrical stimulation therapy that re-educates the muscles needed for swallowing. By increasing the quality of the muscle contraction, it improves swallow and speech function. eSwallow can only be used by those who have been certified.
You may be familiar with the use of electrical stimulation used by physical therapists and occupational therapists to treat muscle dysfunction and pain. The same physiological concepts are applied in the treatment of the muscles of speech and swallowing through electrical stimulation.
eSwallow uses an electrically pulsed current delivered through electrodes placed on the skin. The current then penetrates the tissue to the targeted sensory nerve, motor nerve, muscle, or muscle group, to cause a muscle contraction.
Benefits of eSwallow:
Muscle re-education & strengthening for more efficient and safe swallowing
Maintain range of motion
Increase local blood circulation