Dysphagia (swallowing difficulties)

Physical Communication Cognitive Behavioural / Emotional

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing food or liquids) is one of the most common health challenges following a TBI. The nerve centres controlling swallowing within the brain may be damaged, or the person with the condition may have cognitive problems and no longer understand what food is or how to eat and swallow food. Dysphagia may result in choking and aspirating (inhaling) food into the lungs which can result in pneumonia.

Treatments for dysphagia include:

  • speech and language therapy to learn new swallowing techniques
  • changing the consistency of food and liquids to make them safer to swallow
  • alternative forms of feeding, such as tube feeding through the nose or stomach

In time most patients who have suffered Traumatic Brain Injury can regain their swallowing reflex.


"When different organisations assess different aspects of a child's neuro-rehabilitation needs, everyone looks at things from a different perspective and highlight needs and conflicting priorities"
Cathy Jonson; Rehab without Walls; United Kingdom.
"Pediatric neuro-rehabilitation cannot be delivered in isolation. The needs of the child have to be looked at both holistically and within the context of the family unit. Parents need to be empowered to be parents in post-acute pediatric neuro-rehabilitation following brain injury"
The Children's Trust; United Kingdom
"Intensive and individualized approaches work. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't. You have to make it relevant to the child."
Recolo; United Kingdom
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury. Stressful experiences alter brain development of a child, especially at the key ages of 0-3 and at ages 10-16"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Taking brain injured children home causes high stress for families. Disjointed services exacerbate family stress levels."
Deborah Andrews; New Zealand
"Families and professionals spend time focusing on the negative aspects of ABI. Families need to be properly supported as 'resilience' is key to delivering successful outcomes for children and young people."
Roberta De Pompeii; USA
"Brain development is complex and prolonged. Brain plasticity is influenced by a range of factors. Plasticity provides a base for neuro-rehab therapies and treatment"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"New parenting support intervention showed how parenting style is related to executive dysfunction in children and young people post brain injury. With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"Often families don't have the financial capability to access services. We need to rethink how we deliver neuro-rehab services to children and young people"
Vicki Anderson; Australia
"Poor parenting styles affects children's behavior; increases their learning disability; and has a negative impact on emotions; anxiety; anger management post brain injury"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain

OUR MISSION: To work to remove inequalities for children & young people affected by acquired brain injury; and provide effective support to their families that makes a real difference.

Council for Disabled Children Community Funded Charity Excellence Lottery Funded