Occupational Therapy Feeding Interventions for Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Burke, Jennakah
Klas, Reagan
Lebahn, Paige
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2023-04
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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a common neuromotor disability affecting about 1 in 345 children in the United States. Common symptoms of CP include abnormal tone, coordination difficulties, postural dysfunction, and poor reflex integration. These motor deficits make it difficult for children with CP to complete their daily activities including self-care, bathing, and feeding. Feeding challenges such as difficulty chewing, swallowing, and excessive drooling occur in 21-58% of children with CP. The purpose of this analysis was to appraise the current evidence surrounding occupational therapy feeding interventions to improve feeding, eating, and swallowing performance in children with CP. This analysis included Level 1 and 2 research published in the last 10 years. The research revealed strong evidence supporting a variety of occupational therapy interventions for treating feeding, eating, and swallowing dysfunction in children with CP. A multidimensional approach including positioning, oral sensorimotor interventions, and caregiver education was most effective in improving feeding outcomes. Other interventions that were found to be effective included neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and Bobath’s Neurodevelopmental Therapy Method (NDT). Further research is needed to determine the most effective protocol to use with each of these interventions.
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Creighton University
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Copyright is retained by the Author. A non-exclusive distribution right is granted to Creighton University
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