If you work in a special education class or a day habilitation setting, more than likely you are teaching a student or an individual with complex needs including the use of a feeding tube.
February 8-12 is recognized as Feeding Tube Awareness Month which is a great opportunity to provide information on tube feeding in an educational setting. According to the Tube Feeding Awareness Foundation, there are over 300 conditions that require students and individuals to receive nutritional support through tube feeding.
What is a feeding tube?
A feeding tube is a device that is inserted in the stomach wall and goes directly into the stomach. It bypasses chewing and swallowing in a student or individual who no longer has the ability to safely eat or drink. This allows for students and individuals to receive adequate nutritional support.
A feeding tube is also used for students and adults who cannot take in enough food by mouth. Feeding tubes can be temporary or permanent .
Reasons to use a feeding tube
The student or individual may have a swallowing disorder or dysphasia. This means there is an increase risk for the student or individual to aspirate their foods or liquids into their lungs. Causes of swallowing problems include low-muscle tone, brain injury, genetic conditions, sensory issues, neurological conditions, cleft lip/palate and birth defects of the esophagus or stomach.
Types of Feeding Tubes
Gatro Feeding Tube
The gastrostomy tube (G tube) is placed through the skin into the stomach. The stomach and the skin usually heal in 5-7 days. This type of tube is generally used in people with developmental disabilities for long term feeding.
Nasogastric Feeding Tube
The nasogastric (NG tube) is inserted through the nose, into the swallowing tube and into the stomach. The NG tube is typically used in the hospital to drain fluid from the stomach for short term tube feeding.
Neurological and Genetic Conditions Requiring Tube Feeding
Some students and individuals with neurological and genetic conditions often require tube feeding due to gastrointestinal issues including constipation, reflux, and abnormal food-related behaviors. It For example, it is estimate that 11% of children with cerebral palsy use a feeding tube due to difficulty with eating, swallowing, and drinking.
The following are different types of neurological or genetic conditions that may require the use of a feeding tube.
You may be working with a child or an adult that uses an AAC communication device. Are you familiar with low-tech AAC devices?
According to Beukelman and Mirenda (2013), an estimated 1.3 percent of Americans cannot meet their daily needs communication needs using natural speech. Using low-tech AAC is one way to help children and adults with limited communication skills.
What is AAC?
AAC or Augmentative and Alternative Communication includes various methods of communication systems including communication devices, strategies and tools that helps a person communicate their wants, needs and thoughts specifically for children and adults who have limited communication skills.
What are the benefits of using AAC?
Studies show improvement in language development, literacy and communication among users including the use of picture exchange. There is also research that shows people working with an AAC are able to:
take turns appropriately
decrease challenging behavior
improve receptive and expressive skills.
Who uses an AAC?
Children with developmental delays including motor, cognitive and physical limitations including children and adults with:
Eat, Think and Speak– a blog written for medical Speech and Language Pathologist on topics relating to swallowing, communication and cognition. Provides a blog article on free low-tech material including a wide variety of premade communication boards
Project Core– Provide free sample lesson plans focusing on talking with one word at a time to using correct grammar and word order.
Download printable here: 2021 Special Needs Awareness Observance CalendarDid you know that 1 in 6 or 15% of children aged 3 through 17 have one or more developmental disabilities? Or that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) that over a billion people live with some form of disability? This means that nearly 1 in 7 people on Earth have some form of a disability. For this reason, disability awareness and acceptance is more important now than ever before.
What is the Purpose of Disability Awareness?
Disability awareness serves many purposes including informing and educating people on a certain cause. In some cases organizations and agencies use it as part of their annual campaign in an effort to bring awareness and raise money for their cause. Employers often conduct trainings on disability awareness as an effort to educate employees and to decrease bullying in the workplace. Disability awareness also can be used to address myths, misconceptions and the realities of having a disability. Ribbons are also used that are specific to awareness activities. Through disability awareness campaigns it is hoped that people learn and develop a greater understanding of those with a disability. Annual awareness observances are sponsored by federal, health and non-profit organizations. In some cases observances are worldwide including World Autism Awareness Day or World Cerebral Palsy Day.
Types of Awareness Campaigns
Awareness campaigns fall under three categories:
Day- this is often held on the same day each year regardless of the day it falls under. There are cases where an awareness day falls on a specific day such as the last Thursday of a month.
Week – The dates dates change and vary based on the week. In some cases, awareness activities are held on the first week of the month to the fourth week of the month
Month- activities and awareness celebrations are held throughout the month.
The 2021 calendar includes major special needs awareness days, weeks, and months. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional material and fact sheets. This page focuses on awareness activities that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click on the month below to go to a specific month.
Cerebral Palsy is a collection of motor disorders resulting from damage to the brain that can occur before, during and after birth. Congenital cerebral palsy indicates that a person developed cerebral palsy at birth which is the case of the majority of people with cerebral palsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is the most common motor disability in childhood. It is estimated that an average of 1 in 345 children in the U.S. have cerebral palsy. For many years, it was thought cerebral palsy was due to lack of oxygen. Studies show this only accounts for 19% of all cases.
Prevalence and Characteristics
Around 764,000 people in the United states have at least one symptom of cerebral palsy
Around 10,000 babies are born each year with cerebral palsy
Boys are diagnosed more often than girls
Cerebral palsy is the mot commonly diagnosed childhood motor disability in the United States
Over 77% of children with cerebral palsy have the spastic form
More than 50% of all children with cerebral palsy can walk independently
African American children with cerebral palsy are 1.7 times more likely to need assistance with walking or be unable to walk at all
Around 41% of babies and children with cerebral palsy will have limited abilities in crawling, walking and running.
Around 41% children with cerebral palsy in the United states have some form of a cognitive disorder
Behavior problems are common in children with cerebral palsy including social skills and anger issues.
Seizures are a common associate disorder of cerebral palsy and can range from mild to extreme severe.
There is no known cure
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Studies show that about 10 to 20 percent of children with cerebral palsy acquire the disorder after birth. This includes through infections, jaundice, RH incompatibility and severe oxygen shortage in the brain.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic- indicates the muscle tone is too low or too loose
affects 5 to 10 percent of people with cerebral palsy
movements are unsteady and shaking
have difficulty making quick movements
Spastic- refers to the inability of muscle to relax
is the most common type of cerebral palsy
70-80% of people have spastic cerebral palsy
will have difficulty moving from one position to another
Athetoid-uncontrolled twisting movements
Affects 10 to 20% of people with cerebral palsy
often have difficulty holding themselves in an upright position
muscles move involuntarily causing limbs to twitch