The Role of Oral Sensorimotor Therapy in the Treatment of Pediatric Dysphagia Sensorimotor therapy was the first exercise system proposed for treating pediatric dysphagia in children with neuromuscular disorders such as cerebral palsy. Simply stated, the oral sensorimotor therapy approach provided structured sensory and movement experiences needed by the child to facilitate improved feeding and swallowing function and acquisition of new ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2005
The Role of Oral Sensorimotor Therapy in the Treatment of Pediatric Dysphagia
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Justine Joan Sheppard
    Program in Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology, Department of Biobehavioral Sciences, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Justine Joan Sheppard, PhD, CCC/SLP, Board Recognized Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and ASHA Fellow, is associate professor of speech pathology, adjunct, at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a principal in Nutritional Management Associates, a private practice specializing in services for children and adults with developmental disability.
    Justine Joan Sheppard, PhD, CCC/SLP, Board Recognized Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and ASHA Fellow, is associate professor of speech pathology, adjunct, at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a principal in Nutritional Management Associates, a private practice specializing in services for children and adults with developmental disability.×
  • She may be contacted at jjsheppard@worldnet.att.net.
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   June 01, 2005
The Role of Oral Sensorimotor Therapy in the Treatment of Pediatric Dysphagia
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2005, Vol. 14, 6-10. doi:10.1044/sasd14.2.6
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2005, Vol. 14, 6-10. doi:10.1044/sasd14.2.6
Sensorimotor therapy was the first exercise system proposed for treating pediatric dysphagia in children with neuromuscular disorders such as cerebral palsy. Simply stated, the oral sensorimotor therapy approach provided structured sensory and movement experiences needed by the child to facilitate improved feeding and swallowing function and acquisition of new feeding and swallowing skills. The purposes of this article are to review the origins and theory of the oral sensorimotor approach (OST) and its theoretical foundation, to review research on the use of OST, and to present research problems and needs.
Historically, the term “Sensorimotor Therapy” has been used to describe a therapeutic approach that provided a structured sensory environment (input). The aim of the sensory structure is to modify specific abnormalities in the movement patterns exhibited by the patient during a particular functional task—the target task—and, in children with disability, to facilitate acquisition of more mature developmental skills. Structured sensory inputs are continued throughout the activity in a manner that is responsive to the changing postural adjustments and task-oriented movements of the patient. That is to say, the sensory strategies are used to structure and enhance the sensations associated with initiation of the task (feed forward) and with the ongoing performance of the task (feedback). Strategies are selected to influence both the exteroceptive (distance and contact sensations) and interoceptive (kinesthetic and proprioceptive) components of the task. The interventions are used to improve task efficiency and quality of performance, reduce the movement errors and involuntary movements that interfere with task performance or inhibited acquisition, and elicit new movement components. The sensory modalities include exteroceptive input that is associated typically with the task, such as food taste and temperature and contact sensations and resistance provided by utensil and bolus, as well as novel modalities, such as vibration and massage, that are selected to alter muscle tone for initiation and performance of the target task. In addition, assistance strategies are implemented for their potential to enhance or alter feed forward and feedback for joint stabilization, body position, movement of structures, and correction of movement errors.
First Page Preview
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview ×
View Large
Become a SIG Affiliate
Pay Per View
Entire SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia) content & archive
24-hour access
This Issue
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access
We've Changed Our Publication Model...
The 19 individual SIG Perspectives publications have been relaunched as the new, all-in-one Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.