Oral-motor skills following sensorimotor therapy in two groups of moderately dysphagic children with cerebral palsy: Aspiration vs nonaspiration

Erika G. Gisel, Toni Applegate-Ferrante, Jane Benson, James F. Bosma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of oral sensorimotor treatment on oral-motor skills and measures of growth in moderately eating impaired children with cerebral palsy who were stratified by state of aspiration/nonaspiration. Twenty-seven children aged 2.5-10.0 years participated in this study (aspiration: n = 7, nonaspiration: n = 20). Weight and skinfold measures were taken. Children were observed at lunch time and six domains of feeding were examined: spoon feeding, biting, chewing, cup drinking, straw drinking, swallowing, and drooling. Children underwent 10 weeks of control and 10 weeks of sensorimotor treatment, 5-7 minutes/day, 5 days/week. Treatment compliance for the entire group was 67%. Children who aspirated had significantly poorer oral-motor skills in spoon feeding, biting, chewing, and swallowing than children who did not aspirate. There was significant improvement in eating: spoon feeding (fewer abnormal behaviors, p <0.03), chewing (more normal behaviors, p <0.003), and swallowing (more normal behaviors, p <0.008). There were no significant changes in drinking skills. Children as a group maintained their pretreatment weight-age percentile but did not show any catch-up growth. Children showed adequate energy reserves as measured by skinfold thicknesses. Improvement in oral-motor skills may help these children to ingest food more competently (i.e., less spillage). However, their weight remains at the lowest level of age norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996



  • Aspiration
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Drinking
  • Eating
  • Eating impairment
  • Nutritional
  • Oral sensorimotor therapy
  • Status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology

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