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The Feeding Clinic at DRMC is a service of the DRMC Speech Therapy Department. The feeding team at DRMC is happy to answer any questions and assist you in developing a feeding program for the individual needs of your child.

Eating should be a relaxed, positive experience for all, from newborns to the elderly. Sometimes, feeding and swallowing problems (dysphagia) occur.

Children may have difficulty with the movement and coordination of the jaws, lips, tongue, or soft palate during feeding. They can have trouble with muscle strength and timing of movements during the swallowing phase.

Also, they may have trouble with oral sensations which may affect the movements necessary for feeding. Dysphagia can result in a refusal to eat, frequent gagging and vomiting.

Symptoms of Dysphagia

The following signs and symptoms may indicate the need for an assessment of feeding and swallowing:

• Difficulty latching onto nipple during breast or bottle feeds
• Problems with establishing a suck, swallow, breathe pattern
• Problems achieving age appropriate feeding skills, like spoon feeding, eating table food and drinking from a cup
• Avoiding certain textures, like crunchy or pureed foods
• Coughing, gagging, choking or skin color changes with feedings
• Difficulty swallowing secretions or abnormal drooling
• Wet, gurgly voice quality during or after feedings

Causes of Dysphagia

Any structural problems, such as cleft palate have the potential to cause feeding problems. Also, neurological disorders like cerebral palsy, anoxia or premature birth may affect muscle coordination needed for feeding. Some children with no known medical conditions may have feeding difficulties.

When to call the doctor

Talk to your pediatrician or family doctor if your child has signs or symptoms of feeding/swallowing problems. Your doctor may suggest further evaluation by a feeding team.

The feeding team at DRMC

At DRMC, a professional staff consisting of physicians, nurses, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists can provide a complete evaluation and treatment program for you and your child.

Following the evaluation, oral motor/feeding therapy may be recommended. The goals of therapy may include:

• Coordinating the suck-swallow patterns during bottle or breast feeding
• Developing appropriate oral movements for feeding
• Improving chewing patterns
• Increasing tolerance for texture

The Feeding Clinic at DuBois Regional Medical Center is located in the Medical Arts Building along Hospital Avenue, DuBois, across from DRMC West.

Appointments are made by referral from your pediatrician or primary care physician.

For details on DuBois Regional Medical Center’s Speech Therapy programs, please contact DRMC’s Speech Therapy Department at (814) 375-3372, or the HealthEd Line at 375-INFO (4636); toll free, 1-888-920-INFO.

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