This is a specialist inpatient and outpatient service for children with dysphagia. Dysphagia means difficulty in eating and/or drinking.
Children referred to the Dysphagia team will be seen by a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) for comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of the reported difficulty, including taking a detailed case history, cervical auscultation (using a stethoscope to listen to the child’s swallow sounds), oro-motor examination and observing mealtimes where possible.
This may lead to further investigations such as x-ray of the swallowing mechanism with colleagues from the Radiology department.
Due to the complicated nature of many of the children’s difficulties, work is undertaken in liaison with other hospital professionals such as clinical nurse specialists, dieticians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, medical and nursing staff.
There is close liaison with Speech and Language Therapy colleagues and other professionals in local services, informing them of the results of any assessments and advising on management where necessary.
Where appropriate, children will be followed up on an outpatient basis by this department.
Dysphagia occurs in association with many paediatric syndromes and conditions and can affect children at any age from infancy through to late adolescence.
SLT's input into a number of multidisciplinary clinics for children with feeding difficulties, including the Neuromuscular service.