Previous Chapter Chapter 9: Assessment and Management of Eating and Drinking Difficulties

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Assessment and Management of Eating and Drinking Difficulties
Assessment and management of eating and drinking difficulties

Many children with cerebral palsy have eating and drinking difficulties These range from relatively minor difficulties in coordination of oral movements causing eating to be slow and with excessive spillage, to severe incoordination of the swallowing mechanism, causing ill health and even life-threatening conditions. Mealtimes may take up to 15 times longer than for other children (Gisel and Patrick 1988), and despite this the children often do not receive adequate nourishment. A community-based study by Reilly et al. (1996) revealed oral-motor problems in more than 90 per cent of a sample of 49 children with cerebral palsy, of whom over a third were at risk of chronic undernourishment.

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