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Referral to the speech and language therapy feeding and swallowing team

The feeding and swallowing team assess children’s eating, drinking and swallowing. The team advise on the safety of children’s swallowing and provide strategies and advice to help with eating, drinking and swallowing. The team sees:

  • children who have complex needs which affect their eating and drinking
  • children who have structural problems which affect their eating and drinking
  • children who have developmental difficulties which affect their eating and drinking
  • children whose medical problems or past medical problems affect their willingness to eat

What will happen now?

If your child is not yet attending school, you will get a letter for a telephone appointment. It is important that you attend this appointment or tell us if you need a different day or time. This allows us to plan the most appropriate support for your child, reduce any immediate risk and involve other team members that could help, such as a Dietitian.

If your child is attending school, you will receive a letter or a phone call about an appointment. Your child may receive a clinic appointment or they may be seen in school.

How will my child receive the support they need?

Initially, you will be offered a telephone appointment. Then depending on your child’s needs, you will be offered a choice of a:

  • clinic appointment
  • video appointment
  • sending videos
  • sometimes a home visit

This will allow us to get all the information we need, and support you in the most appropriate way for you and your child.

How often will my child be seen?

Refusing food or limited food range

If your child is able to swallow food but is refusing food or only eats a limited range of foods, you will be invited to attend an online workshop with a follow up appointment.

This is likely to be between 1 and 3 appointments.

Related to their development

If your child has problems with feeding and swallowing that are related to their development, the Speech and Language Therapist will stay involved with you until your child is able to eat and drink to the best of their ability.

This is likely to be between 1 and 5 sessions.

Sensitive to how food feels

If your child is sensitive to how food feels in their mouth and this affects how they chew, the Speech and Language Therapist will work with you to reduce any risks, develop your child’s chewing and explore their sensitivity to food.

This is likely to be between 1 and 4 sessions.

Related to medical condition

If you child has swallowing difficulties as part of a complex medical condition, the Speech and Language Therapist will work with you to provide support about the most appropriate positioning, textures and utensils to ensure that your child is able to eat and drink to the best of their ability.

This might be up to 15 sessions a year. These sessions may be face to face, attending meetings or writing plans and reports for your child.

Related to structural issues

If your child has something structural such as a TOF or a laryngeal cleft, Speech and Language Therapy will work with you and the other members of your child’s medical team at different times throughout their treatment.

This might mean that you receive some regular visits followed by a break in therapy, so that your child is able to have input at the most appropriate time for them.

Specialist school settings

If your child attends a specialist school setting, the Speech and Language Therapist will see your child in school and ensure that school have a feeding plan in place for your child so everyone knows what foods your child likes to eat and how they like to eat and drink.

Sessions

A session will be around 45 minutes and may be face to face, telephone or video, attending meetings or writing plans and reports for your child.

The number of sessions your child receives may vary slightly from the numbers above so that we can ensure you and your child get all the support you need. If you do not attend an appointment and do not let us know we may not be able to replace the missed appointment.

Contact us

Clinical Lead for Paediatric Dysphagia (Feeding and Swallowing): Jane Shaw

Sheffield Children’s Hospital

0114 271 7452

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SL91

Resource Type: Article

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Western Bank
Sheffield
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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