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Swallowing Awareness Day and Cerebral Palsy
Why Swallowing Awareness Day is so important
Eating, drinking and swallowing is an essential part of most people’s day and is often taken for granted, but for some people, it is not that easy. Dysphagia, or eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties, can affect a person’s quality of life and can lead to other health complications.
This is why the work Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) do in this area is essential and we’re working to raise the profile of the SLT role.
This Swallowing Awareness Day, why not join us in raising awareness of the important work SLTs all over the world do to support those living with dysphagia.
People living with cerebral palsy may experience dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). For instance, some people have trouble coordinating the muscles of the tongue and back of the throat that help you swallow your food without choking. Others will have a problem with the oesophagus and have a hard time moving foods and liquids down into the stomach.
Role of speech and language therapy
Dysphagia can be found in all stages of life, including in infants, children and young people and adults. It often occurs with other health conditions, such as being born prematurely, having learning disabilities, dementia and stroke.
If not treated appropriately, dysphagia can lead to other health complications, reduced quality of life, and potentially life-threatening consequences.
Speech and language therapists play a key role in the identification and management of dysphagia.
- Have a unique role in the diagnosis of dysphagia
- Help people regain their swallowing through exercises, techniques and positioning
- Promote patient safety through modifying the texture of food and fluids, reducing the risk of malnutrition, dehydration and choking
- Promote quality of life, taking into account an individual’s and their families’ preferences and beliefs, and helping them adjust to living with swallowing difficulties
- Work with other healthcare staff, particularly dietitians, to optimise nutrition and hydration
- Educate and train others in identifying, assessing and managing dysphagia
Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead
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