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.


"Rehabilitation interventions can lead to positive outcomes for children and their families if delivered in the familiar home environment and applied to everyday situations"
Cerebra; 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
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury, especially at the key ages of 0-3 and at ages 10-16"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"We would like to see earlier identification and support for children with brain injuries to help them succeed in school."
Dalton Leong; Chief Executive of the Children's Trust
"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
"When different organisations assess different aspects of a child's neuro-rehabilitation needs, everyone looks at things from a different perspective and have conflicting priorities"
Cathy Jonson; Rehab without Walls; United Kingdom.
"With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"Our 10 year study proves that family-led home-based neuro-rehab interventions deliver the best outcomes for children and young people"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"There are problems with getting people into neuro-rehab. Those most in need are often those most excluded due to a lack of socio-economic resources."
Vicki Anderson; Australia

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 Youth Foundation BBC CiN