From the day your baby is born, they need to be able to swallow when feeding. But some babies have trouble with this skill. Others may have no problem swallowing milk or formula but struggle when they transition to solids. If your child is having trouble swallowing their food or drink, pediatric feeding therapy can help. Keep reading to learn more about what a swallowing disorder is, how it can impact your child’s growth, and how our caring feeding therapists can help.

What Is a Swallowing Disorder?

A swallowing disorder is a condition that makes swallowing food or drink a challenge. The medical term for this condition is dysphagia, from the Greek dys- meaning “difficult” and phagein, meaning “to eat.”

There are three specific types of dysphagia (or difficulty eating and swallowing) based on where the trouble stems from:

  • Oral dysphagia is when the trouble starts in the mouth with chewing and breaking down the food.
  • Oropharyngeal dysphagia is where the trouble happens when moving the food or drink from the mouth into the throat to start the swallowing process. (From the Latin oro- meaning “mouth” and Greek pharynx meaning “throat.”)
  • Esophageal dysphagia is when the trouble happens as the food moves down the esophagus into the stomach.

Signs and Symptoms of Swallowing Disorder

Some of the most common signs or symptoms of dysphagia include:

  • Coughing or choking during meals
  • Frequent gagging or refusal to eat
  • Weight loss or poor weight gain
  • Taking a long time to eat or drink
  • Excessive drooling
  • Complaints of pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Vomiting during or after meals

How Can a Swallowing Disorder Impact My Child’s Development?

Dysphagia can have lasting effects on a child’s development. Beyond the immediate challenges during meals, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies that negatively impact your child’s growth and overall health. The frustration and anxiety associated with feeding difficulties like dysphagia can also affect your child’s social and emotional development.

How Feeding Therapy Helps Children Overcome Swallowing Disorders

At Building Futures, our expert pediatric feeding therapists specialize in play-based therapy techniques to help your child address and overcome swallowing disorders like dysphagia. We work with children to improve their oral motor skills, build their tolerance to different food textures, and promote confidence in eating to facilitate better nutritional intake. Through personalized and engaging sessions, we empower children to enjoy family meals with comfort and ease.

Free Developmental Screening

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, you can take advantage of our free online developmental screening. This tool is a convenient way for parents to know with certainty if your child is achieving their developmental milestones or if they need extra support to achieve their brightest future.

Take our free developmental screening

Contact Us Now To Schedule An Appointment!

Contact Us Form