What to Expect

Speech and Language Assessment and Therapy

 

Each patient receives an in-depth and comprehensive assessment of their communication skills. All findings of tests and examinations are then discussed with the carer and patient, and a treatment plan is agreed, where appropriate.

One-to-one therapy sessions take place directly with Analou. These sessions are complemented by a tailored home programme to support therapy. 

The length of treatment will vary according to each child's needs and type of treatments required. 


Parents are equipped with the strategies and skills to supplement and support therapy in order to optimise the child’s progress and reduce the length of treatment.

Assessment and Treatment of Eating and Drinking Difficulties (Dysphagia)

 

The terms dysphagia describes eating and drinking disorders which may occur in any of the three stages of swallowing. This includes difficulties with the positioning of food in the mouth, the oral movements including sucking, chewing and the process of swallowing. Eating and drinking difficulties can be associated with a number of conditions:

  • Prematurity

  • Neurological difficulties

  • Infectious diseases

  • Respiratory difficulties

  • Cardiovascular difficulties

  • Gastrointestinal difficulties

  • Craniofacial conditions

  • Congenital syndromes

  • Learning difficulties

  • Isolated eating and drinking difficulties related to sensory processing difficulties and sensitivities e.g. children with a traumatic feeding history or traumatic medical history

Children who do not receive timely and appropriate management of their feeding difficulties are at an increased risk of:

  • Aspiration i.e. food entering the airway.

  • Respiratory infection

  • Choking

  • Poor nutrition and weight loss

  • Poor health

  • Hospital admission due to respiratory illness

  • Anxiety and distress within the family

  • Reduced quality of life (RCSLT)

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and the Health Professionals Council of the UK acknowledge the key role the SALT plays in the assessment and treatment of feeding difficulties in both children and adults. The role of the speech and language therapist is 1) to provide a specialist assessment of the child’s feeding skills, 2) to maximise the safety of the child’s feeding potential during strategies which support safe and adequate nutritional intake and 3) identify and manage the risks to the child as a result of the feeding difficulties.

Assessment 

All children referred for input regarding their feeding difficulties or dysphagia will undergo a detailed assessment by a specialist speech and language therapist (SLT). An appointment will be arranged with the parents, which will allow the SLT to observe a meal time. It is important that the SLT is able to observe how your child feeds. For this purpose the assessment needs to happen at the time the child will be willing to feed. The SLT will ask you to bring your child’s drink and/or food along to the appointment.

At the time of the assessment your child will be weighed and measured to determine how your child is growing. Please bring your child’s Red Book along to the appointment in order for the SLT to get an impression of your child’s growth over time.

The SLT will ask you a range of questions regarding your child’s feeding history, nutritional intake, general development, general health and concerns regarding meal times. It is helpful to bring a video clip of a typical meal along to the appointment. This will provide the SLT with additional information regarding your child’s behaviour around meal times at home.

Following the assessment, the SLT will discuss her observations and assessment findings with you. She might recommend further objective assessment of swallow function with videofluorosocpy swallow study or perhaps a referral to other specialists for example dietician or paediatric gastroenterologist.

Treatment

The treatment of feeding difficulties is a complex process and typically involves the implementation of a combination of strategies.

All children are unique and therefore the treatment program is designed to meet the child and the family’s needs. Reviews can be direct during a clinic visit or indirect via teletherapy or email, depending on the need of the child. Progress is carefully monitored and the program adapted to optimise each child’s feeding potential in an efficient and effective manner. All treatment is evidence based for effectiveness and efficiency.

You can find out more about this at The Children's Feeding Clinic

Teletherapy: Video Conferencing

via Zoom

The use of technology in speech and language therapy and other health services have expanded exponentially over the last decade. Teletherapy via Zoom allows for easy access to quality speech and language and feeding therapy in cases where regular clinic visits are not an option. Travel time, distance and cost are no longer barriers to intervention. Research has also demonstrated no apparent loss of quality of intervention. All that is required is a good wifi/broadband connection, printer, Skype programme and an adult to act as the therapists ‘hands’ to facilitate presentation and manipulation of therapy materials. All materials will be sent electronically prior to the session.

You can download Teletherapy via Zoom.

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