The identification of abnormal oral-motor patterns in infants and children with neuromuscular disorders has been well documented. Poor feeding skills in children with cerebral palsy have required early treatment, and a neurodevelopmental treatment approach has frequently been used. With advances in medical technology, infants of younger gestational ages and with more complicated diagnoses are surviving. The course of hospital treatment for these infants may be lengthy and intensive. On discharge some premature and full-term infants, whose primary medical conditions have resolved and who have no evidence of cerebral palsy or other oral-motor dysfunction, may present with an oral feeding aversion of unknown etiology. When oral intake is inadequate, supplemental tube feedings may be required. The authors hypothesize that these infants and children suffer from abnormal oropharyngeal sensory perception. This article discusses the assessment and treatment of such sensory-based oral feeding disorders.
©1993Aspen Publishers, Inc.