Speech and language therapists (SLTs) who hold a qualification in paediatric dysphagia will see babies, infants and children who have eating, drinking and/or swallowing problems. This may be as a result of being premature, or because of physical or mechanical feeding difficulties.
Conditions in scope
We will see babies and children who:
- are at risk of aspirating e.g. food or drink going down the wrong way into their lungs. Signs of aspiration when eating/drinking include; coughing, eye watering, change in skin colour, nose flaring.
- who have a history of repeated chest infections/pneumonia which is caused by swallowing difficulties.
- are a high risk preterm or a baby with a neurological problem/medical condition associated with feeding difficulties e.g. Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy.
- are being weaned off a feeding tube.
- have a tracheostomy tube in place.
- are already known to SLT service for communication and specific dysphagia concerns are raised.
SLTs do not provide a service to children or young people who:
- present with feeding difficulties as a result of an autistic spectrum disorder.
- have just sensory and/or behavioural issues affecting their eating and drinking.
- are ‘fussy’ eaters.
- refuse to eat lumpy/chewy foods but have no mechanical difficulties.
- generally refuse to eat.
- have issues related to the weaning process.
- do not demonstrate any difficulties with physical or mechanical eating and drinking skills.
- have reflux without signs of eating and drinking difficulty.
- have issues with dribbling.
These websites can provide helpful information:
Infant and toddler forum - look at the section called ‘resources for parents’ (opens in new tab)
BBC Tiny happy people - for information on weaning (opens in new tab)
Kentcht NHS - some information on dribbling (opens in new tab)
ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder) (opens in new tab)
NHS UK - reflux advice (opens in new tab)
Autism UK - eating difficulties and ASD (opens in new tab)