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Focus on Early Eating Drinking & Swallowing (FEEDS)

Children with neurodisability can have difficulties eating, drinking and/or swallowing.

Some children have mostly physical difficulties; for example, those with cerebral palsy may find chewing and swallowing problematic. Other children have mostly sensory difficulties, such as extreme sensitivity to certain foods, or difficulties associated with not wanting to eat, or eating only a restricted range of foods, such as in children with autism. Some children have combinations of difficulties.

Eating and drinking difficulties can lead to a restricted diet, poor growth and impact on development, in addition to general physical health risks such as choking or chest infections. The difficulties may also create stress at mealtimes that can affect wider aspects of family life.

This study will identify which treatments are regularly recommended in the NHS, which types of improvement in eating and drinking are considered most important by parents and professionals, and how best to measure a child’s progress. The research will gather information using focus groups and surveys with families and clinicians. We will also examine the published research to see what is known about the effectiveness of treatments to improve eating, drinking and swallowing.

The aim is to make recommendations about how future studies should be designed and conducted.

The research is funded by NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme.

The research is led by Dr Jeremy Parr at the University of Newcastle. View their main project page.

If you have any questions on the project, please get in touch.