Feeding and Swallowing Assessments

Consistent with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework (World Health Organization, 2001) comprehensive feeding and swallowing assessments are conducted to identify, describe, and diagnose:

  • impairments in body structure and function affecting feeding and swallowing, including affected oral and swallowing phases
  • limitations in activity and participation, including the impact on overall health (including nutrition and hydration) and the child’s ability to participate in routine activities, e.g. family meals, meals at daycare and school, birthday celebrations with friends
  • psychosocial, environmental and/or personal factors that serve as barriers to or facilitators to successful nutritional intake and mealtime participation, e.g. child’s food preferences, parent and caregiver responsiveness, parent-child relationahip, family support in implementing strategies for safe eating and drinking
  • co-morbid deficits or conditions, such as developmental disabilities or syndromes
  • the impact of feeding and swallowing impairments on quality of life of the child and family

Some populations are at high risk for pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) and/or swallowing dysfunction (dysphagia). Population considerations include:

  • aerodigestive disease (airway, pulmonary, gastrointestinal)
  • congenital heart disease
  • diseases of the airway and lungs
  • disorders that affect oral, nasal, or pharyngeal function
  • malnutrition
  • neurological impairments
  • neurodevelopmental disorders
  • prematurity
  • sleep disorders

(Goday, et al., 2019)