Pediatric Feeding/Swallowing: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Maureen A. Lefton-Greif, Joan C. Arvedson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have played primary roles in the evaluation and management of children with feeding/swallowing disorders for more than five decades. Medical, surgical, and technological advances have improved the survival of young fragile infants and children, many of whom will present with feeding/swallowing problems. Regardless of their underlying etiologies, many of these children are at risk for aspiration-induced lung disease, undernutrition or malnutrition, developmental deficits, and stressful interactions with their caregivers. Unfortunately, our understanding of the physiology/pathophysiology of swallowing and its maturation, the development of standardized and efficacious evaluation and therapy tools, and identification of functional outcomes have not kept pace with our ability to identify children who are at increased risk for dysphagia and the associated sequelae. Given this paucity of evidence to guide practice in pediatrics, clinicians rely upon a combination of data extrapolated from adults with dysphagia, anecdotal reports, and institution-specific guidelines. This article focuses on updates in population demographics and advances in evaluation and treatment over the past decade and identifies future directions that may enable us to meet the needs of the children who are in our care to attain functional outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-309
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Speech and Language
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Dysphagia
  • deglutition
  • evaluation
  • management
  • pediatrics
  • swallowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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