It’s common for some more severely affected children with cerebral palsy to have eating and drinking issues. They may have difficulty in sucking, swallowing or chewing and mealtimes may take more time as a result. Speech and Language therapists can help by advising on a feeding programme and any special equipment which could help.
- Are you using the right cups? For example, a child with motor or sensory difficulties might need a cup of a certain shape or material. Is it a cup where you can see how much you’re tipping in, to prevent water in the lungs leading to chest infections? Your speech and language therapist can teach you the best and most efficient ways to offer a drink safely.
- Feeding can be a question of timing – in a very active child it’s easy for food to trickle down the back of the throat, and so your speech and language therapist can advise you on the timings and food textures that would be best for your child.
“One little boy found drinking difficult, before he started school he learned how to drink form a straw so he didn’t need to feel any different from his classmates.” Claire MacMillan, Speech and Language Therapist.