Oral motor dysfunction is a common issue in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Drooling, difficulties with sucking, swallowing, and chewing are some of the problems often seen. In this study, we aimed to research the effect of oral motor therapy on pediatric CP patients with feeding problems.
Materials and Methods:
Included in this single centered, randomized, prospective study were 81 children aged 12-42 months who had been diagnosed with CP, had oral motor dysfunction and were observed at the Pediatric Neurology outpatient clinic of the Children's Health and Diseases Department, Istanbul Medical Faculty, Istanbul University. Patients were randomized into two groups: The training group and the control group. One patient from the training group dropped out of the study because of not participating regularly. Following initial evaluation of all patients by a blinded physiotherapist and pedagogue, patients in the training group participated in 1 h oral motor training sessions with a different physiotherapist once a week for 6 months. All patients kept on routine physiotherapy by their own physiotherapists. Oral motor assessment form, functional feeding assessment (FFA) subscale of the multidisciplinary feeding profile (MFP) and the Bayley scales of infant development (BSID-II) were used to evaluate oral motor function, swallowing, chewing, the gag reflex, the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex, tongue, jaw, and mouth function, severity of drooling, aspiration, choking, independent feeding and tolerated food texture during the initial examination and 6 months later.
When the initial and post-therapy FFA and BSID-II scores received by patients in the training and the study group were compared, the training group showed a statistically significant improvement (P < 0.05).
Oral motor therapy has a beneficial effect on feeding problems in children with CP.