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Oral-motor skills following sensorimotor therapy in two groups of moderately dysphagic children with cerebral palsy: Aspiration vs nonaspiration

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of oral sensorimotor treatment on oral-motor skills and measures of growth in moderately eating impaired children with cerebral palsy who were stratified by state of aspiration/nonaspiration. Twenty-seven children aged 2.5–10.0 years participated in this study (aspiration: n=7, nonaspiration: n=20). Weight and skinfold measures were taken. Children were observed at lunch time and six domains of feeding were examined: spoon feeding, biting, chewing, cup drinking, straw drinking, swallowing, and drooling. Children underwent 10 weeks of control and 10 weeks of sensorimotor treatment, 5–7 minutes/day, 5 days/week. Treatment compliance for the entire group was 67%. Children who aspirated had significantly poorer oral-motor skills in spoon feeding, biting, chewing, and swallowing than children who did not aspirate. There was significant improvement in eating: spoon feeding (fewer abnormal behaviors, p<0.03), chewing (more normal behaviors, p<0.003), and swallowing (more normal behaviors, p<0.008). There were no significant changes in drinking skills. Children as a group maintained their pretreatment weight-age percentile but did not show any catch-up growth. Children showed adequate energy reserves as measured by skinfold thicknesses. Improvement in oral-motor skills may help these children to ingest food more competently (i.e., less spillage). However, their weight remains at the lowest level of age norms.

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Gisel, E.G., Applegate-Ferrante, T., Benson, J. et al. Oral-motor skills following sensorimotor therapy in two groups of moderately dysphagic children with cerebral palsy: Aspiration vs nonaspiration. Dysphagia 11, 59–71 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00385801

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