Ask A Therapist: Task Analyzing Oral Sensory Motor Skills

Hi Lori,

I have a 7 months old client who is a breast feeder. When trying to give her new things like applesauce, yogurt, etc. She makes the bolus but she doesn’t swallow. What can I do for her to swallow, besides achieving lip closure? Specifically for swallowing. I hope you can help me. Thank you.


Hi Rosy,

I wish it was as easy as just making recommendations for treatment … but your treatment needs to be based upon assessment. You need to look at this child’s medical issues (does this baby have respiratory issues, gut issues, allergies, etc? What is the primary diagnosis?), tone, posture and alignment issues (what you see in the body is what you get in the mouth), sensory system (is this a baby who has modulation, regulation or sensory discrimination issues?), oral structures (have you looked at the shape of the palate, the labial frenum, lingual frenulum, etc?) and then do a task analysis of oral sensory motor skills (you can task analyze any motor skill) to support safe nutritive feeding. Once you can target WHY this child is having difficulty managing purees, it will be appropriate to plan a program or to ask for suggestions for program planning. The two-day sensory motor class or the sensory motor feeding book may be helpful. Best,

Lori Overland, MS, CCC-SLP, C/NDT

Talktool admin 06 Jun 17

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