Aspiration is the term used to describe the process of food and/or fluid entering the airway below the level of the vocal folds meaning food and fluid enters the lungs. Mealtime partners should be aware of the following risk factors during mealtimes;

  • Poor oral-motor coordination
  • Coughing (immediate or delayed) and/or throat clearing
  •  Eyes watering, blinking, widening or shutting
  •  Facial grimacing
  •  Noisy or wet voice quality
  •  Change in breathing
  •  Fatigue/pace
  •  Effortful swallowing
  •  Wheezing
  •  Change in facial colour

Mealtime partners should be aware of the above risk factors when supporting children and young adults at mealtimes and should request assessment from a Speech and Language Therapist. It is important to note that a child may dysphagia without any of these symptoms being present, this is known as ‘silent aspiration’.

  • Chest infections

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