Speech Therapy Can Help Swallowing Disorders in Pediatrics & Adults

Speech Therapy Can Help Swallowing Disorders Nov24th 2020

Do you or your child have issues eating or swallowing food and drink?

This can pose a serious health problem and put you at risk for choking. 

However, Choice Therapy provides therapy specifically tailored to a person’s speech, voice, language, feeding, and swallowing needs. Our speech therapists work hard to help our patients develop strong oral motor skills and decrease issues they may have with eating, drinking, swallowing, and communicating. 

If you are unsure whether or not you or any child or adult you may know has a swallowing disorder, contact Choice Therapy today. Our speech therapists will be glad to speak with you about how our services can help.

What is a swallowing disorder?

According to NINDS, “Having trouble swallowing (dysphagia) is a symptom that accompanies a number of neurological disorders. The problem can occur at any stage of the normal swallowing process as food and liquid move from the mouth, down the back of the throat, through the esophagus and into the stomach. Difficulties can range from a total inability to swallow, to coughing or choking because the food or liquid is entering the windpipe(aspiration.)” 

Another kind of swallowing disorder is called odynophagia, which is categorized by pain felt in the throat or chest during swallowing. 

Swallowing disorders are not always obvious, but there are many symptoms to look out for in a child or adult. Hopkins Medicine outlines a few, including:

  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Regurgitation (the return of food or liquid back to the mouth or pharynx after it successfully passed)
  • Nasal regurgitation (when food or fluid comes up into the nose; this occurs when the nasopharynx does not close properly)
  • Coughing during swallowing
  • Choking 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort or pain

ASHA also discusses the three phases in which swallowing occurs and the difficulties that could present in all three phases of swallowing:

  • Oral phase – sucking, chewing, and moving food or liquid into the throat.
  • Pharyngeal phase – starting the swallow and squeezing food down the throat. You need to close off your airway to keep food or liquid out. Food going into the airway can cause coughing and choking.
  • Esophageal phase – opening and closing the esophagus, or the tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach. The esophagus squeezes food down to the stomach. Food can get stuck in the esophagus. Or, you may throw up a lot if there is a problem with your esophagus.   

How can a speech therapist help?

The muscles of the tongue and throat need to be strong and work properly to help you swallow food and drink. Oftentimes with swallowing disorders, we find that there may difficulties with the neurological processing and possibly muscle function in the tongue and throat.

Our clinic provides specialized therapeutic intervention, tailored to an individual’s speech, voice, language, or swallowing needs. After your initial consultation with your speech therapist, they will be able to make a proper diagnosis (if one hasn’t already been made prior to your appointment) and discuss different methods of treatment with you.

These interventions may include neuromuscular re-education, dysphagia swallowing exercises, oral-motor treatments, and other traditional speech therapy techniques. 

Dealing with a swallowing disorder can seriously pose many threats to a person’s lifestyle, hinder the way you interact with others, and lower a person’s self confidence when eating or drinking in front of other people.

One of Choice Therapy’s speech therapist can help determine why a  swallowing disorder is occurring and the treatment plan needed to help an adult or child eat and drink more comfortably. 

Contact us today for speech therapy

Rest assured that you’re in good hands at our clinic. We do our best to create a warm and welcoming environment for you to comfortably learn how to manage your swallowing disorder. Swallowing disorders can prove to be worrisome and dangerous when left untreated. 

Don’t wait for things to improve on their own. If you or your child is experiencing difficulty swallowing, contact Choice Therapy today to learn more about how one of our speech therapists can help your situation. 

It’s Choice Therapy’s top priority to see all of our patients through to the end of their treatment and have them feeling more confident in their feeding and swallowing abilities. If you or your child is struggling with a swallowing issue, contact Choice Therapy today to make an appointment for an evaluation. 




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