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Dysphagia. 1989;3(3):135-54.

Development of oral-motor skills in the neurologically impaired child receiving non-oral feedings.


Treatment of children with swallowing dysfunction requires a holistic approach based on a global view of their problems and needs. The connection of the swallowing mechanism with the sensorimotor organization of postural tone and movement throughout the body is a critical factor in the evaluation and treatment of children whose dysphagia is rooted in a neurologic disorder. An appropriate program includes work with the development of movement skills, sensory processing, learning, social skills, and communication. The initial focus is placed on oral-motor treatment, rather than direct work on oral feeding. The primary goal of the program is to develop the appropriate use of the mouth, respiratory, and phonatory systems in exploration, sound play, and as much oral feeding as possible. Oral feeding is the by-product of a total program, not its major goal.

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