How do speech pathologists help?


Speech pathologists have specialist knowledge in how the muscles of the head and neck move in order to eat, drink and swallow as well as talk. Speech pathologists can help children who have feeding difficulties due to oral motor and sensory difficulties. With the right advice, support and equipment your child can be on the way to becoming a safe and better eater.

Speech pathologists often work closely with a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals in this area (e.g. occupational therapists, medical specialists, dieticians and physiotherapists).

What are feeding problems?


When babies are learning to eat, drink and swallow, their muscles are developing movements that lay the foundations for later talking. Infants and children may need help from a speech pathologist if they are having difficulty moving the muscles of the lips, tongue, jaw, voice-box, head or neck in order to chew, bite, eat, drink and swallow.

Children may experience coughing, choking or gagging during meals or they may be experiencing difficulties transitioning to solids or transitioning from smooth to lumpy textures. Other children may be fussy or picky eaters. They may only eat a limited range of foods or refuse to try new foods. They maybe sensitive to the smells, tastes and textures of foods and have clear preferences on the foods they like or dislike.

Difficulties with saliva control or drooling can also be a problem as well as the transition from bottle to cup drinking. Swallowing difficulties can be life threatening. It is important for children having difficulties in this area to be referred promptly to a speech pathologist for appropriate assessment and treatment.

Contact us for more information on how we can help feeding problems.