What is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder often associated with chronic or acute medical conditions that affect the central nervous system. Dysphagia is more commonly diagnosed in the elderly, however infants and children may also present with this disorder based upon the severity of the primary neurological insult. Individuals diagnosed with dysphagia may demonstrate challenges getting ready to eat, chewing their food and appropriately swallowing their food. The disorder directly impacts the preparatory, oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal phases of eating; therefore, individuals with the condition may have various weaknesses extending from their mouths down to their stomachs.

What are some symptoms of Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is often a side effect of various neurological disorders, so it is important that your child be Dysphagiadiagnosed fully, as soon as possible. In terms of his swallowing problems alone, your child may present stiffening of the body and increased irritability when eating, as well as weaknesses managing food and liquids in his mouth. Children with dysphagia may cough and gag during meals and demonstrate difficulties chewing and coordinating breathing while eating. Over time, your child may also develop aversions to various textures of food, and he may refuse to eat or drink things he once enjoyed.

How does Dysphagia progress?

Individuals with the condition lose the skills to eat and swallow that they once had. As a result, the individual is at an increased risk for undernourishment, dehydration, aspiration, and pneumonia. While the severity of the disorder may vary from patient to patient, all individuals with dysphagia have poor oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal functioning.

How can I help treat my child’s condition?

Treatment for dysphagia varies based on the age of the individual, as well as the severity of the cause and symptoms of the disorder. A speech-language pathologist plays an important role in teaching your child to feed and swallow as he once could. Your child’s previous medical history, nutritional information, and current level of functioning will be assessed in order to create a functional plan for him. Prior to starting treatment, your child may need to undergo an endoscopy to further evaluate his condition and the path for improvement.

Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, we use a multisensory approach to therapy. Our speech-language pathologists work with a feeding and swallowing team to maximize treatment strategies for your child. An occupational and/or physical therapist, nutritionist, and neuropsychologist will also evaluate your child in order to provide the most comprehensive treatment plan available. Our speech-language pathologists will focus on increasing oral-motor functioning as well as improving your child’s ability to tolerate various foods and liquids to ensure safety while eating and swallowing. When appropriate, feeding programs such as the Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding (SOS) may be used in combination with traditional dysphagia treatment methods to increase your child’s ability to tolerate and manage an increased variety of foods.

Client Reviews (19)

My daughter who is now 1.5 years old and she started physical therapy when she was 6 months old and was discharged at 1 years old. We was reevaluated and needed therapy a few months later, and that’s when we met Marcy. She was very professional and compassionate towards my daughter. In the beginning hannah was very fearful of leaving my hands and had many meltdowns, a few weeks later hannah was eagerly jumping into Marcy hands. It only took a few months for hannah to come walking out to me in the office and it was a dream! Hannah is now meeting with devorah for speech and she’s absolutely great with it. I’ve recommend this place to friends and neighbors because hoe fantastic the staff and services are. Very highly impressed!

Jill

Our daughter saw Sarah Friedman in Glenview (now in Lincolnwood) for gross motor delay. Through our time with Sarah, she made tremendous progress. Sarah worked hard to keep our baby happy during sessions and cheered with us when she did her first roll and her first independent sitting session. We are so grateful for Sarah’s expertise and encouraging support. We still email her with questions and she happily responds. We highly recommend Sarah and the PT at NSPT!

Matt Galin

My husband and I were so impressed with our experience at your clinic. From my first phone call to NSPT, to the parent meetings with Dr. Stasi, to my son’s evaluation day and the follow-up feedback meeting, we felt supported and “heard” by everyone. We had anxieties about having our 4 year old evaluated – it was such uncharted territory for us – but we couldn’t be happier with the experience and with the results. We now feel like we have a more comprehensive understanding of our son’s strengths and weaknesses. We feel like we know better as parents how to help him reach his full potential. We also are happy that we can pass along Dr. Stasi’s narrative to our son’s teachers and therapists so that they can have a better understanding of his specific needs. Everyone at NSPT held our hands throughout the process, kept us in the loop, and returned calls/emails in a timely manner. Thank you for a great experience!

Anne J

My son has been receiving speech therarpy here for the past 3 years. If it wasn’t for the intellect of the therapist he was working with we would have never discovered that he has APD. Through hard work over the course of the years, my son has blossomed into a talking machine. I highly recommend NSPT for all your kids needs.

Carla Robinson

My daughter saw Zoe in Glenview for feeding therapy starting when she was 6 months old. We were very concerned because she was losing weight and refusing to eat solids. From the first session, Zoe was able to work with our baby to not only get her to try foods, but to take an active interest in them. Zoe also provided tremendous comfort to us by sharing her breadth of professional and personal knowledge on infant feeding. Our baby is nearly 1 year old now and she is a happy, healthy eater (though still a little picky). We are so grateful to Zoe for starting us on this path.

Matt Galin

Our son Ian received speech therapy from Ms. Katie 2x per week for 6 months. We were so thrilled to see his confidence increasing as his verbal skills improved. While we have moved out-of-state & no longer go to NSPT, I am hopeful that we will find a therapy center that is as wonderful & caring as they were!

Stephanie Long

NSTP has managed to turn a difficult and sometimes frustrating situation into a fun and educational experience for my 6 year old daughter. Their confidence, willingness to explain every detail of what they do and what they have planned for my daughters sessions has been a life saver to me. The enthusiasm and confidence I encounter with her therapists is not only a needed relief to me as a parent but is also picked up by my daughter and can been seen in her interactions with the therapists and other children as we walk into the office.

Ben

Andrea is a wonderful Physical Therapist! Her work with our son is always engaging and fun for him. She is always very helpful with things we can do at home to help him improve and the exercises she does with him, he thinks are games, so he is more willing to do them more often. I’m so glad she is working with him, it is easy to see the improvements over a short period of time!

Anonymous

My 3-year-old receives speech therapy at NSPT. I’ve been so happy with the progress she’s making in this area. She has been learning new words and phrases and is incorporating them at home, which has been great! I’m impressed with the concern and level of care of the therapists at NSPT.

Pamela S

Our son Ian received two evaluations by Dr. Greg Stasi & we were very impressed with the thoroughness of the evaluations & the time Dr. Stasi took to explain the results. It was extremely beneficial in determining what treatment Ian would receive both at NSPT & in school.

Stephanie Long

My son is making wonderful progress with voice volume and enunciation! We love Jaclyn! Thank you for your loving support!

Lisa D

My son (now 4) has only been receiving physical therapy at North Shore Pediatric Therapy for about a month, but already we are seeing so much progress. My son took to his therapist immediately and so he views his sessions as a highlight of his week; his time to play with Miss Sarah is always a joy. He had trouble hopping, balancing, etc… and now he is gaining so much more strength and confidence in his own abilities. My son also has Type 1 Diabetes and I always know he is in good hands as Sarah is well versed in diabetes care and always asks about his blood sugar before his sessions. Thank you!

Jennifer N

I have three children who have been coming to NSPT since October 2012 in the Glenview office. The therapists are amazing with my children. They are very caring and kind and they love working with children. My son reached all of his goals after one year of being with his therapist. My other two kids are showing a lot of progress and improvement in their speech. I am very happy with the services my kids are receiving.

Weam S

Flexible, professional and always encouraging our daughter to reach to levels at all times. Updated information on performance reviews and adjustments to therapy goals.

Ben

My son (now 4 1/2) has been coming to Speech Therapy at North Shore Pediatric Therapy in Highland Park for 9 months. When he started, he was fairly unintelligible, and we were very concerned. Thanks to the amazing SLPs at NSPT, my son has greatly improved and is so much more intelligible. While we still have a ways to go I believe we are on the right track. I no longer have to translate everything he says to everyone. We are thrilled with the speech services our son has received.

Leah B

My son has been going for speech and ot for almost a year and Ellyn and Katie have been so great working with my son. since starting at north shore pediatric therapy he has really shown huge improvement and has made everyday life easier for my son. they have been great.

Merrick

My son (now 4) has been coming to Speech Therapy at North Shore Pediatric Therapy in Glenview for over a year. When he started, he could barely form words was somewhat unintelligible, and we were obviously very concerned. Everyone used to tell me that one day he would be talking so much I would just want him to stop, but I had a hard time believing them. Thanks to the amazing SLPs at NSPT, it’s true! My son now speaks in full sentences, is fully intelligible, has gained an enormous amount of self-confidence, and I do sometimes think “when is this kid going to be quiet?”. Haha – Needless to say we are thrilled with the speech services our son has received.

Jennifer N

Since my family put my autistic sister into speech therapy in North Shore Pediatric Therapy she had improved in her speech and developed new words, and found confidence in trying to speak more and Maureen is very happy, because everybody is very friendly and pays attention to her needs.

Anonymous

My 22 month old son has been coming to Speech Therapy here at North Shore Pediatric Therapy in Bucktown since last fall (2013). He has been seeing Jessica Jamicich. Jessica is a warm, kind and extremely caring Speech Therapist who is wonderful with children with developmental delays. Currently, he is working on action words and two word phrases. My husband and I are extremely please with his speech development. Jessica has been instrumental in helping his speech development along.

Melinda V

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