Once your swallowing disorder has been evaluated and diagnosed, your speech pathologist will formulate a plan of care to improve your swallowing function. This might include modifying your diet so that foods and liquid are easier to swallow, using head postures and other strategies to increase comfort and safety during meals, and initiating a course of individualized outpatient swallowing therapy.
What is Swallowing Therapy?
Swallowing therapy involves completing a variety of exercises to help strengthen the muscles of your tongue and throat so you can swallow more easily and safely. Your clinician will typically see you for 4-6 sessions, 1 per week, to help you learn the exercises. It is important that you practice the exercises consistently at home in addition to work with your clinician. Our clinicians are trained in a range of both traditional and innovative therapy techniques:
Traditional Swallowing Exercises: Clinicians will teach you an individualized program of throat exercises targeted to your deficits.
Lingual Manometry: Used to evaluate and improve tongue strength. Clinicians use a pressure-sensing device to provide patients with biofeedback during exercises.
Pharyngeal Manometry: This is a cutting edge treatment using a pressure-sensing catheter to evaluate muscle strength and provide real-time biofeedback to improve exercise performance.
Endoscopic Biofeedback: An endoscope is inserted through the nose to allow visualization of the throat. Patients then practice swallowing exercises and eating/drinking while watching the real-time performance and outcomes.
Respiratory Training: Respiratory training is designed to improve breathing methods and target certain groups of swallowing muscles. You will be given a handheld device to work on inhaling and exhaling against resistance.
Trismus Therapy: Clinicians target improved jaw opening with a variety of stretching techniques and devices.
Learn about the pediatric feeding and swallowing therapies available at Brenner Children's.