Swallowing - 5 Facts for People with Intellectual Disability

hard to swallow campaign


5 Facts for People with Intellectual Disability

1. Swallowing is complex – it involves a lot of muscles and nerves in the body.

2. Swallowing difficulty can affect how a person can eat food, drink fluids, and take medication. It can affect how people can swallow their saliva.

3. Difficulty swallowing can be a danger to a person’s health. It can affect different people in many different ways. Swallowing difficulty can cause problems with nutrition and with respiratory health. It can also cause choking and death. It can impact on enjoyment and wellbeing.

4. Swallowing difficulty can increase as people with intellectual disability get older – even over 25 or 30 years of age. Foods and drinks that were once easy to swallow may become more difficult to swallow.

- People might start to say they ‘don’t like’ something they used to like eating.

- Meats and salads might become more difficult to chew.

- Hard or stringy foods might become more difficult to swallow.

- People might also begin to experience more respiratory illnesses, or go to hospital more often.

5. It is important to seek medical attention and the advice of a speech pathologist. Problems swallowing can also be a sign of other health conditions.

Seek advice as early as possible.


Guest post: A/Prof Bronwyn Hemsley, Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist,

The University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

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ph. 1800 424 065       email: info@nswcid.org.au

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