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Cerebral Palsy and Feeding Difficulties



Approximately 3 in every 1000 children are born with Cerebral Palsy (CP) (Siddharth & Gupta, 2016). Up to 80% of these children experience feeding difficulties that lead to undernourishment (Siddharth & Gupta, 2016). Research shows that sensory-motor, behavioral, and medical issues can lead to “poor oral motor control, speech delay, drooling, and poor functional motor skills” (Sidharth & Gupta, 2016, p. 159). Occupational therapists are able to plan interventions that focus on improving oral motor skills, providing optimal positioning while feeding, modifying the textures that the child receives, and teaching the child how to use adaptive utensils to increase independence in feeding (Sidharth & Gupta, 2016). In their 2016 study, Siddharth & Gupta examined the benefits of occupational therapy intervention on the child and the impact it had on the goals and quality of life of the child’s mother. In this study, 30 children with CP were seen by an occupational therapist once a week, for 4 months. The therapists provided caregiver education to the mothers regarding feeding techniques. They found that “A diligent mother who shows active participation in the intervention process of the child brings a positive change in the child’s health and feeding ability” (Sidharth & Gupta, 2016, p 162). The results showed that occupational therapy intervention had a positive impact on the oral motor skills of children with CP and increased the satisfaction levels of these children’s mothers. (Sidharth & Gupta, 2016).

Resources:

Siddharth, V., & Gupta, A. (2016). Occupational therapy intervention in cerebral palsy children

with Oral Motor Dysfunction (OMD) and its impact on occupational goals and quality of life of their mothers. Indian Journal of Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy, 10(4), 159–164. https://doi.org/10.5958/0973-5674.2016.00139.8

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