The causes of feeding and swallowing difficulties for children and adults with developmental disabilities are always multifaceted, sometimes misdiagnosed, and often difficult to assess and treat appropriately. Respiratory difficulties, gastro-intestinal function, oral-motor skills, and behavioral issues are just a few of the elements that can influence feeding and swallowing, limit response to treatment, and result in significant health issues.
The MCBDD - Starlight Program recently held trainings for our employees, family members, individuals we support and providers. Karen Linser, MS OTR/L who is absolutely fabulous facilitated the trainings. She describes complex feeding and swallowing disorders as they manifest themselves in children and adults with developmental disabilities who have a variety of diagnoses. Attendees gained successful strategies for identification of the underlying etiology of the dysphagia. She also reviewed the evidence base for specific therapies, including oral motor techniques, behavioral interventions, nutritional interventions, and strategies for respiratory control. Participants left the course armed with practical suggestions and tactics for improving eating habits. The all have a better understanding when a person is at risk of choking and how to prevent it as well as strong evidence to support thse strategies.