An exploration of feeding difficulties in children with down syndrome
Spender Q., Stein A., Dennis J., Reilly S., Percy E., Cave D.
Detailed examination of several aspects of feeding was carried out on a representative sample of a defined geographical population of children with Down syndrome. The examination included standardised assessments both of oral-motor function and of parent-child interaction. The findings suggest that the development of oral-motor function in children with Down syndrome not only lags behind intellectual development, but also follows an aberrant pathway. In particular, specific aspects of tongue and jaw function were impaired together with problems initiating and maintaining a smooth sequence of feeding actions. Also, parent-child interactions, as in studies on play, tended to be more controlling. Parents of children with Down syndrome do not spontaneously report the extent of their child's feeding problems unless specific enquiry is made, preferably accompanied by observation of feeding.