Occupational Therapy Month

APRIL IS NATIONAL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY MONTH! So to celebrate, we wanted to highlight this important profession and one of the many services provided by the OT practitioners at JCHC.

Let’s begin with what occupational therapy is. Your life is made up of occupations—meaningful everyday activities. These occupations include all the activities you need to do to fulfill your roles as a parent, student, grandparent, employee, business owner, gardener, or friend. Occupations can be disrupted due to injury, illness, disease or even the normal aging process.

Most of us take for granted the ability to walk to the fridge and obtain a (healthy) snack whenever we’re hungry without complications. Dysphagia is a disorder that causes difficulty with swallowing and successful movement of food/drink from mouth to stomach. Dysphagia is a common occurrence with illness/injury. The muscles of the cheeks, jaw and throat assist with swallowing, and if weakened or imbalanced can contribute to dysphagia. Common signs include

  • Drooling or poor oral management
  • Frequent coughing with swallowing
  • Food remaining in mouth after swallow
  •  Food/drink leaking from mouth or nose
  • Unable to maintain lip or jaw closure
  • Pain with swallowing
  • • Wet or gurgly sounds voice
  • Difficulty coordinating breathing and swallowing
  • Extra effort or time needed to chew
  • Weight loss or dehydration from avoiding food/drink

JCHC’s occupational therapists are knowledgeable in evaluation and treatment of self-feeding dysfunction, including dysphagia. If you (or someone you know) is having difficulty with swallowing, speak to a physician about a referral to Occupational Therapy.

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