What is dysphagia?
Our speech therapists use professional techniques to improve speech clarity and teach oral structural placement to clients who struggle to produce or imitate speech sounds using traditional auditory or visual input. We focus on giving you or your child the necessary tools and strategies needed to communicate their needs, ideas, and thoughts to the world.
Together we will determine individualized goals and a plan of action according to you or your child’s needs. Our speech-language pathologists will work closely with you, the parents, and additional caregivers throughout therapy, ensuring everyone is working together towards the primary goal.
LET US SUPPORT YOU
•Coughing or throat clearing during or after eating or drinking
•Acute or recurring aspiration pneumonia/respiratory infection and/or fever
•Drooling and poor oral management of secretions and/or bolus
•Ineffective chewing (individual variability in mastication cycles and time)
•Food or liquid remaining in the oral cavity after the swallow
•Inability to maintain lip closure, leading to food/liquids leaking from the oral cavity
•Extra time needed to chew or swallow
•Food/liquids leaking from the nasal cavity
•Complaints of food “sticking” or complaints of a “fullness” in the neck;
•Complaints of pain when swallowing
•Changes in vocal quality (e.g., wet or gurgly sounding voice) during or after eating or drinking
•Difficulty coordinating breathing and swallowing
•Weight loss, malnutrition, or dehydration from not being able to eat enough
If the answer, or answers, are yes, you are not alone! We have a community of professionals to work with you and your child to support them in achieving a safe swallow.
*It is imperative to consider a variety of clinical indicators such as the etiology of dysphagia and overall health of the patient, rather than relying on one single sign or symptom.
Dysphagia is also known as complex swallowing disorder. Swallowing is an intricate process that uses ~50 pairs of muscles and nerves using three stages: oral phase, pharyngeal phase, and esophageal phase. Dysphagia occurs when there is a complication with either the neural control or the structures involved in any part of the swallowing stages. Dysphagia can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, compromised general health, chronic lung disease, choking, and even death. Additionally, it decreases the quality of life as reduced enjoyment, embarrassment and isolation during meals may occur.
Are You or Your Child Having Difficulty:
•Traumatic brain injury
•Spinal cord injury
•Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease)
•Developmental disabilities in an adult population (e.g., intellectual disability)
•Progressive Neurological Diseases
Problems affecting the head and neck, including:
•Cancer in the oral cavity, pharynx, nasopharynx, or esophagus
•Radiation and/or chemo for head and neck cancer treatment
•Trauma or surgery involving the head and neck
•Decayed or missing teeth; and
•Critical care that may have included oral intubation and/or tracheostomy