Our multidisciplinary team offer a range of in depth comprehensive assessments for eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties and disorders. Our triage system allows us to create a bespoke pathway for the individual, taking into consideration their difficulties, the impact of the difficulties on their quality of life and the impact on those around them, ensuring a holistic approach to the assessment process. Our triage process certifies that the individual is seen by the right professionals. We also offer assessments on an immediate basis for any child who is at risk when swallowing.
What will an eating, drinking and swallowing assessment involve?
After an initial telephone consultation, you will be invited to meet the speech and language therapist for an initial assessment. They are able to assess your child in clinic or in the home environment, depending on what is most suitable for you.
The speech and language therapist will take a detailed case history from you. This will be a series of questions giving you the opportunity to tell us anything we need to know, your concerns and your goals. The case history is more of a discussion for you and the therapist to get to know each other and can form a subjective assessment of the child based on your opinions. The therapist will ask you questions on their medical history and some of the symptoms your child has been experiencing.
They will then assess your child's swallow. All of our assessment process is safe for the child and our speech and language therapists try to make it as enjoyable for them as possible. The assessment will be different for each individual depending on the concerns, but it may involve fun games with food to assess the child's relationship with food, a sensory assessment, an oral motor assessment where the therapist will look inside a child’s mouth or a swallowing assessment where a therapist will listen to the swallow to check for signs of aspiration.
After the assessment, we will discuss our findings with you and provide you with strategies that you can put in place immediately to ensure the child's swallow is as safe as it can be. A report will then be written with all of the information that our speech therapists and other professionals have amalgamated. You may then be provided with some treatment or training options that will be suitable for you or your child. These can be discussed in detail so that you are choosing the best option for the child.
Depending on your concerns and the child’s difficulty that has been identified through the assessment, our speech and language therapist can refer you to different professionals, this could include; dietitian, occupational therapist, physiotherapist or a psychologist.
Why do I need a speech and language therapy swallowing assessment?
Any child with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties will need an assessment in order for the feeding team to fully understand the nature of the child's problems. If the child’s difficulty have not yet been diagnosed and you are concerned about the safety and effectiveness of your child's swallow, it is also important that they are assessed to diagnose any difficulties your child may have. A swallowing assessment will:
- Provide detailed information of the nature of the eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.
- Allow informed decisions for treatment options that will help your child improve.
- Provide opportunity for you to discuss your concerns and goals.
- To immediately assess anything that may be unsafe and to provide strategies to avoid this.
- Provide evidence of your concerns for reports and further referrals if needed.
- Allow the child to get to know the team before treatment begins.