01 February 2012

The first steps to improving a child's drooling

By Natan Gendelman D.O.M.P | www.enabledkids.ca | www.healthinmotionrehab.com

For many parents of children with special needs, drooling is a common yet difficult issue to address. When a child is young, it is normal for him to drool as teething stimulates the glands in the mouth. However, drooling later on in life is a bigger problem which may occur due to several reasons including swallowing abnormalities, difficulty moving saliva to the back of the throat, and instability of the jaw. Depending on the cause, available treatments range from medications and surgeries to therapy and treatments. However, it is important to receive an ear, nose and throat examination and identify the cause before deciding on the best way to improve your child’s condition.
Among parents of children with neurological conditions however, many have the same question: how can I improve my child’s drooling without using surgery or medications? To be able to answer this, as mentioned in our previous article you can’t just look at and treat one aspect of your child’s condition. Whether it’s a child’s drooling, vision or limb function, these are issues which cannot be successfully treated without looking at the child’s general condition. From this overview, you will be able to see how an impairment in one area will inadvertently cause impairment in a child’s other functions. Without addressing these issues, a child may fall into a roller coaster of compensatory functions, which will then start snowballing into a series of more serious and complex problems affecting each part of his body.

The importance of trunk control

So what are the first steps to addressing this problem? It all starts with the trunk, which is the core of the body. When looking at ways to improve drooling, one of the first areas to check is whether the trunk has developed properly. With trunk control, a child is able to gain control of his neck, thereby leading to improvements in their facial expression and facial control. By reducing tension in the neck and face muscles, it improves a person’s control of his lips, tongue and drooling, opening the possibility for other treatments, like speech language pathology, to succeed.
For these reasons, it’s important to really look at the global picture of what is happening with your child. Teach him everything, and don’t just be stuck on improving his drooling, speech or hand movement. In taking this approach and going from a general to a more specific perspective, you’ll be able to better address your child’s needs and improvements.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment down below or feel free to email me. Thanks everyone!
So what are the first steps you have taken to improving a child’s drooling?

For more information, visit http://www.scope.org.uk/help-and-information/cerebral-palsy-and/drooling-and-cerebral-palsy

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