Pediatric Dysphagia

At the Goshen Speech and Hearing Center, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of children’s swallowing and feeding disorders. Feeding, the act of gathering food into the mouth, is a common problem in children and often leads to nutrition and hydration problems if not addressed. Dysphagia can occur in children when any part of the normal swallowing process is disrupted. Common causes for feeding and swallowing disorders include neurogenic disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, prematurity and low birth weight, cleft lip or palate, developmental disorders, heart or respiratory conditions, sensory issues, and muscle weakness or abnormalities in the head, face, or neck. Swallowing disorders may also be caused by social, emotional, and environmental issues during mealtime. Children with feeding or swallowing disorders may experience:
  • Coughing or choking before, during, or after the swallow
  • Difficulty breathing while eating
  • Difficulty chewing, initiating swallow, or managing oral secretions
  • Gagging, vomiting, and prolonged feeding times
Parents and caregivers may notice back arching, skin color changes, crying during mealtimes, frequent congestion or respiratory illness, poor weight gain, and noisy or wet vocal quality during and after feeding. The speech-language pathologist may work collaboratively with a feeding team that includes a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a nutritionist, and a developmental specialist. The speech-language pathologist’s primary concerns for children with pediatric dysphagia includes safety, hydration, and nutrition. Dysphagia treatment may include increasing tongue movement and the strength of oral muscles, improving sucking, drinking, and chewing ability, tolerating different foods and liquids, altering food textures and liquid thickness to ensure safe swallowing, and coordinating the suck-swallow-breath pattern for infants. The Goshen Speech and Hearing Center provides child dysphagia and swallowing therapy services to Orange County, NY and the Greater Hudson Valley community as well as the surrounding areas of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Contact our office by calling (845) 294-0661 to schedule an appointment.