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Dysphagia. 2001 Spring;16(2):83-96.

Feeding skills and growth after one year of intraoral appliance therapy in moderately dysphagic children with cerebral palsy.

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  • 1University Children's Hospital, Innsbruck, Austria.


We determined changes in functional feeding skills and growth after one year of intraoral appliance therapy in dysphagic children. Twenty children, 4.2-13.1 years of age (average 8.3 +/- 0.9 years), participated in this study. Children wore the appliance daily. Phase I of treatment (6 months) aimed primarily at stabilizing the mandible and phase II aimed at facilitating ingestive skills. A control period of 6 months preceded treatment. Functional feeding skills improved significantly during phase I beyond changes seen during the control period. Further significant improvement occurred in chewing during phase II. All children significantly gained weight (kg) during the control period, as well as during the two treatment phases. This weight gain was sufficient for children to maintain their growth trajectory. There was also significant growth in height (cm). This growth spurt was characterized by marginal catch-up. Jaw stabilization was a major contributor to the significant improvement in functional feeding skills. Weight gain cannot be attributed to intervention because it occurred during the control period and was the same in magnitude through both treatment phases. However, it permitted a period of growth in stature which previously had been described only after tube feeding.

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