Tagged "feeding issues"


Ask a Therapist: Sensory Feeding For An Infant With Medical Issue

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Dear Lori,

I attended the Sensory Feeding Course in England in June, and would like to thank you for a full two days of professional input.  Before I left Manchester, I had already thought of how I was going to utilize some of the techniques in my therapy sessions.

You had mentioned that you would not mind answering questions, so I hope you do not mind me taking advantage of the very generous offer.

I have my first appointment to see a 4 month old boy with feeding problems next week.  Mom reports that he breast fed nicely (after an initial period of latching difficulty, and the need to suck using a nipple shield). After 1 week, baby got floppy, stopped feeding, and was taken to hospital, where he stayed for a few weeks. He is currently being fed through a nasal feed tube.  Although he is reported to have a strong suck, he does not suck on breast for long. Bottle feeding has the same results.  This child has had extensive genetic testing, endoscopy (up to larynx), videofluroscopy, and EMG--all without any abnormal findings. He is scheduled for an endoscopy to investigate the esophagus.  He has reflux, and I was told that milk came through the nose.  The ENT did not find any sub-cutaneous cleft, nor velo-pharyngeal insufficiency.  He will also have an MRI.  The current medical opinion seems to indicate problems with swallowing.   All this information was received by phone. I have not seen any reports, as yet.

My goal for the session (aside from meeting and assessing the child), is to show mom the oral and sensory-motor stimulation techniques and massages (as well as hand, foot and body massages).  I also would like to introduce some pre-feeding activities, to try to prevent, or, at least minimize oral sensitivity and aversion to food taken orally.

Question: With a dry spoon (Beckman E-Z feeder), shall I introduce spoon feeding with a front feed, or side feed technique? I am inclined to do both, as they involve different oral motor movements.  However, I do not want to instill incorrect feeding behaviors.  (This is the first time that I am working with an infant).

I would like to thank you in advance for your input.

Best regards,

You are absolutely welcome to ask questions! I am so glad you have been able to use the techniques in your therapy.  I am wondering if this baby was tested for food allergies. Does he have reflux? What are his bowels like? Was he scoped? Do you know if they explored inflammation of the intestines or colon?  Does he have infantile spasms? There sounds like there is an underlying medical issue which has not been identified yet. I agree that your best course of action is to address his underlying oral sensory motor skills to support feeding. At 4 months of age and with so many unanswered medical questions I would not want to start spoon feeding just yet. 

When you do get ready to address spoon feeding if he has low tone, I would recommend side spoon feeding with either the small maroon spoon or the EZ spoon. Good luck with this little one!

Lori Overland, MS, CCC-SLP, C/NDT

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Ask a Therapist: Feeding Issue with child that has Beckwith Wiedmann syndrome

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Dear Lori,

My child who is 2 1/2 years old was diagnosed with Autism and Beckwith Wiedemann at 1 1/2 and is receiving Early Intervention and making great improvement.  His greatest issue is feeding: he eats all foods as long as they are smashed; when he bites into anything his tongue kicks the food back out and there is no chewing.  We have had endless visits to specialists and doctors but no one can correctly diagnose his feeding issue. I've been through numerous Feeding/Speech Therapists through EI and no improvement has happened and a lot of unanswered questions remain.  My OT suggested I reach out to you and do some networking and so I hope you can help and lead me in the right direction because I feel as if there are not enough resources for parents who have children with feeding issues. Thank you

I would be happy to try to help you with your son's feeding issues.  Children with Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome typically do not have good tongue mobility.   My experience has been that mobility through the lateral borders of the tongue and tongue tip are reduced so children use a protrusion retraction pattern to compensate.  If you think about eating solid foods, you take a bite and use your tongue tip and the lateral border of your tongue to move the food back to your chewing surface (about where your first molar inserts).  Food is then stabilized between the lateral border of your tongue and your cheek as you chew.  If the bolus of food is large you move the food to the opposite lateral molar ridge. When the food is well enough broken down you get sensory input to swallow.  Given the size of the lingual musculature in relation to the size of the oral cavity a true rotary chew pattern is difficult to facilitate. However, I have had children who can get increased lateral tongue movement.

In addition, many children with Beckwith Wiedemann have low muscle tone, and reduced sensory awareness which impacts breaking down food and knowing when it is adequately broken down for swallowing. When you are brushing your son's teeth you can stroke the side of the tongue from back to front (4-5x on each side) to help facilitate mobility through the lateral borders. You can also try introducing a Cheerio size piece of food on the side of your son's mouth (about where his first molars are) to see if he is better able to chew the bolus.  I teach a two day sensory motor feeding class which is available live and in self study.  I also have a feeding book that can help. These resources will help you with pre-feeding strategies which can facilitate the motor skills your son needs for safe effective nutritive feeding. You can also look on the website to see if there is a therapist in your area who can evaluate your child and plan a program. 

Best,

Lori Overland MS CCC-SLP, C/NDT

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