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    Helping a Person With Cerebral Palsy Eat

    Helping a Person With Cerebral Palsy Eat

    Sometimes people with cerebral palsy have problems trying to eat. Problems may include:

    • Coughing and choking, which can lead to breathing problems or pneumonia if food is inhaled into the lungs.
    • Poor jaw control, making it difficult to chew.
    • Difficulty sucking and swallowing.

    You can help your child with cerebral palsy eat more easily by:

    • Providing appropriate utensils, such as special plates and large-handled spoons.
    • Serving oatmeal, pudding, mashed potatoes, and other semisolid foods.
    • Placing the child in a secure sitting position for eating. Bring his or her arms toward his or her chest to prevent the child from getting into a position that will make feeding and swallowing more difficult (such as arching the back and throwing the head backward).
    • Holding one hand against the child's cheek to help him or her open and close his or her mouth if jaw control is a problem.

    Feeding tubes

    A person with severe cerebral palsy may need a feeding tube in order to eat. For short-term use, the tube is placed into the nose and passed into the stomach. For long-term tube feeding, a tube can be placed directly into the stomach through an opening in the abdomen (gastrostomy tube).

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics

    Current as ofNovember 20, 2015

    Current as of: November 20, 2015

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