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Speech and language therapy feeding and swallowing team

Sheffield Children’s offers a service to help children who have eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.

Our speech and language therapists who specialise in supporting families with eating, drinking and swallowing are based within the early years, schools and special schools speech and language therapy teams. There is also a team of therapists who see children when they are in hospital.

Who can see the feeding and swallowing team?

Children who can see the feeding and swallowing team include:

  • children from birth to 18
  • 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
  • children who live in Sheffield
  • children who are inpatients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital who have eating, drinking, or swallowing difficulties

What does the feeding and swallowing team do?

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

Where can children be seen?

Pre-school children are seen in clinic at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and then maybe seen at home if they need longer-term support. We also offer online parent and carer workshops.

School age children are seen in clinic, at home or in school. Children who attend a Specialist Educational Provision will be seen by the speech and language therapist within their school setting.

How often will my child be seen?

If your child has problems with swallowing, 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.

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 watch our virtual workshops and then offered a follow up appointment.

Videofluoroscopy for swallowing difficulties

We also offer a videofluoroscopy service. This is a moving X-ray of children swallowing. Children will only be referred for this if their consultant thinks this is necessary. The majority of children with eating and drinking difficulties do not need videofluoroscopy.

Inpatient service

Speech and language therapists also see children when they are inpatients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The team mostly work with Oncology and Neuro-rehabilitation but we also see:

  • children who have had a change in their eating, drinking or swallowing
  • children who have not yet had the opportunity to feed by mouth
  • if there is a concern about the safety of a child’s swallowing

Which children are we unable to see?

We are only able to offer a service to children who live in Sheffield (with the exception of videofluoroscopy and inpatients).

We do not see children about weaning advice. Please seek advice from your health visitor.

How can my child be referred?

We accept referrals from GPs, health visitors, consultants, and other health care professionals.

Additional resources and information

Weaning and feeding development advice

Videos and tips for your child’s feeding development: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/

Strategies and tools for fussy eating and how to create happy mealtimes: https://www.childfeedingguide.co.uk/

Advice for Premature Babies

Information about feeding premature babies including tube feeding, breast and bottle feeding, to weaning, and information on reflux: https://www.bliss.org.uk/parents/about-your-baby/feeding

Eating advice for children with Autism or ARFID



 Websites for children with eating and drinking problems

This is an American website which has lots of information and resources for children with paediatric feeding difficulties: https://www.feedingmatters.org/

Resource area has information on different levels of food and drink texture and consistency, and how to test levels accurately: https://iddsi.org/resources/

Basic Life Support

Videos to help you learn Basic Life Support (BLS) from Resuscitation Training Officer, Tanya Ralph: Basic Life Support

Helpful information on preventing child accident and injury with advice on weaning and choking: https://capt.org.uk/

Support if you need help financially for food and drink

Sheffield foodbank website: http://www.sheffieldfoodbank.org.uk

Contact us

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

Sheffield Children’s Hospital

0114 271 7452

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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.

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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