Relationship of articulation and feeding skills in children: a pilot study

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University of Alabama Libraries

Feeding development begins during the embryologic and fetal periods with maturation of the head, face, and neck, the emergence of early oral motor reflexes, and continues well into early childhood. Children learn to eat in a predictable sequence. They transition from nutritional intake of a single consistency (liquid) to complex, multi-textured foods in just two short years. Children continue to refine their feeding skills through elementary age. Simultaneous to feeding development during childhood is speech and language development. One component of speech and language development is articulation. Articulation refers to the establishment of clear and distinct sounds in speech. Speech sounds are developing from birth and should be fully developed by age eight all the while, gaining clarity with repetition and feedback. Articulation and feeding both require intact orofacial structure and adequate oral motor function. Although the relationship between these two developmental processes is implied because of their shared developmental periods and anatomical structures, it has not been fully explored in the literature. This study investigated the relationship between feeding and articulation in children with known articulation deficits. A total of ten participants were recruited from the University of Alabama Speech and Hearing Center (UA SHC), but only three were included after exclusion. Participants demonstrated overlapping sound errors that corresponded to overlapping feeding skill error. For clinical purposes, the implication of an articulation and/or feeding screener would be beneficial in the evaluation process of either disorder to aid in the success of the child’s therapy.

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Speech therapy