You may not make the immediate connection but yes, the month of March, which is National Nutrition Month every year, and speech therapists do go together more for some people than for others. Anyone who has suffered a significant stroke, people with neurological disorders, children with developmental disorders, and people who have chronic illnesses that have progressed to their later stages may have had to avail themselves of the expertise of a speech therapist for swallowing problems. Many people with swallowing problems don’t even realize they are having a problem! They compensate for their deficit in their food choices and in other ways. If you can’t swallow properly your nutrition is going to suffer, as may your health or your very life! If you think you or a loved one has a problem with swallowing, follow up. You can also check out http://www.eatright.org/nnm/ for more information on nutrition, National Nutrition Month, and for good nutritional guidance for everyone.
So how does the speech therapist help someone with a swallowing problem? You can listen to the Sterling Health Show where this was addressed by Speech and Language Pathologist, Eleanor Mirne. See http://www.sterlingcare.com/ and click on the 1490 WGCH radio show link for March 10th 2010. You’ll see it is not a simple thing. First an in depth evaluation is conducted to assess the swallowing process from the vantage point of each stage. Stop for a minute and think of all the things that happen in your mouth and throat each time you have to swallow. Swallowing involves your brain, your tongue, your cheeks, the muscles and nerves in your mouth and throat, and so much more. Your timing, your ability to chew effectively and move food about in your mouth, and your automatic reflexes are important, especially your gag reflex. For most of us swallowing is an automatic process, but when it isn’t it’s a significant problem! Your solution may be found in altered food consistencies, where food is placed in your mouth, how you are positioned, along with so many other factors. If you or someone you love has a caregiver, and you or they have a feeding plan as a result of swallowing problems, it is essential that all facets of that plan of action are being meticulously followed so check it out, ask questions and remain aware of what needs to be in place. Check out this WebMD site to see the scope of swallowing problems and the range of treatments that can be employed, including the services of medical practioners and speech therapists. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/swallowing-problems