Food for Thought Little Research on the Development of Oral Skills for Swallowing: Is Ignorance Bliss? Viewpoint
Viewpoint  |   March 01, 2004
Food for Thought
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jacki L. Ruark
    University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Food for Thought
Viewpoint   |   March 01, 2004
Food for Thought
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2004, Vol. 13, 20-22. doi:10.1044/sasd13.1.20
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2004, Vol. 13, 20-22. doi:10.1044/sasd13.1.20
Each year I teach a graduate-level course in pediatric swallowing and swallowing disorders. The initial part of the course focuses on oral skill development (e.g., as demonstrated during feeding and swallowing) and how the development of oral skills parallels other areas of development such as gross and fine motor development, as well as cognitive, language, and social skill development. In regard to oral skill development, students are introduced to information that is contained in the literature and given facts on how much of the information is derived from empirical, systematic research. There are numerous juried articles regarding the biomechanics of “sucking” activity in humans. These studies provide descriptive data that delineates various physiological components of sucking, such as the rhythmic nature of oral movements (e.g., Qureshi, Vice, Taciak, Bosma, & Gewolb, 2002), the coordination of tongue and mandibular muscle activity (Tamura, Horikawa, & Yoshida, 1996), and the coordination of sucking with swallowing and/or breathing (e.g., Koenig, Davies, & Thach, 1990). In regard to oral skills that are demonstrated during periods of transitional feeding (feeding beyond an infant’s ability to obtain liquid via bottle or breast), I admit to the students that, to the best of my knowledge, the majority of information written in book chapters or non-juried articles is confirmed by little-to-no published, empirical, research. Therefore, the majority of these writings do not provide students, or professionals, with the opportunity to judge the accuracy, or relevance, of such information. For example, I have come across several book chapters that describe the ontogeny of tongue, lip, and jaw movements that occur during various transitional feeding behaviors (e.g., spoon feeding, cup drinking). Movements of these structures are described in detail, and structures are described as becoming more “active” as an infant develops and different textures are consumed. The information is referenced, but the references are usually non-empirical writings. The fact that “precise developmental stages of feeding and swallowing skills have not yet been well delineated” (Arvedson & Brodsky, 2002, p. 60) is rarely noted.
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.