Monday, April 13, 2009

Early Intervention Feeding

As many of you know I travel a lot for business. I am now in NYC for my youngest daughter's graduation and to see a few clients. It amazes me how many of these kids still do not have therapists who know about early intervention feeding. I saw a child today with a significant tongue protrusion during swallowing and talking. The home-based therapist told this mother to press down on the child's tongue blade with the spoon to stimulate retraction. Mom was also told to press in on the tongue tip whenever the child's tongue blade was "hanging out of the mouth." Mom followed this professional's suggestions to a “T.” Guess what happened? Three weeks later this kid has a stronger tongue protrusion and does not want mom to put a spoon with "anything" in her mouth. When I teach my feeding class to the Special Educators at the University of Arizona I have them do these 2 tasks and feel what their students will be feeling. The response is generally a gag and a desire to stick the tongue tip out.

SLPs and OTs are being asked to do early intervention feeding with clients as part of our birth-t0-3 jobs. Before feeding anyone I would require them to watch Lori Overland's DVD: Feeding: A Sensory-Motor Approach.

We have to stop feeding kids like we "think" they should be fed and start feeding them to promote safe feeding and improve speech clarity.