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What School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists Need to Know About Pediatric Swallowing and Feeding Development and Disorders.

PURPOSE: School-based speech-language pathologists are at the frontline for treating children with pediatric feeding disorders (PFDs). Often, speech-language pathologists are the primary allied health professionals who are charged with maximizing safety, supporting nutrition and neurodevelopmental growth. Due to the increasing need for assessment and treatment of PFDs in schools, it is fundamental that PFDs and dysphagia are detected, differentially diagnosed, and addressed to support developing children. This tutorial addresses the anatomy, physiology, and development of functional feeding and swallowing patterns across the spectrum of childhood for both PFDs and dysphagia.

METHOD: A clinical expert review of the anatomy, physiology, and development of functional feeding and swallowing patterns in children across the spectrum of childhood will be completed.

CONCLUSIONS: The aim of this tutorial is to support school-based speech-language pathologists in their understanding of the anatomy and physiology of feeding and swallowing. School-based speech-language pathologists should complete this tutorial with an increased understanding and breadth of knowledge related to typical anatomy and physiology versus atypical or disordered presentations. This tutorial would support school-based speech-language pathologists in determining whether a child presents with characteristics of oropharyngeal dysphagia and/or a PFD.

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