Skip to main content

Feeding and swallowing

Difficulty swallowing can happen at any age. We offer expert care in the treatment of feeding and swallowing disorders. Feeding and swallowing problems (dysphagia) are extremely complex and surprisingly common in both children and adults. The dysphagia treatment that we provide is designed very specifically to a patient's anatomical, physiological, and even psychological needs, as determined through the evaluation process. Whether problems are congenital or occurred after an illness or injury, our certified specialists can develop an individualized treatment program that strives to enhance each patient's quality of life.


Common causes of dysphagia in children are sensory processing disorders, structural abnormalities (i.e. cleft lip/palate), genetic syndromes, birth defects, GI disorders, prematurity, failure to thrive, picky eaters, and low muscle tone. The evaluation process includes a clinical evaluation paired with an extensive parental report. Pediatric patients are typically seen one to three times per week.

What areas does pediatric feeding/dysphagia therapy address?

  • Introducing new foods
  • Normalization of the sensory system
  • Developing self-feeding skills
  • Swallowing strategies
  • Active exercise plans
  • Family-centered feeding plans
"The therapists do a great job with my son, helping him achieve his developmental goals." ​Heather Ryzner-Meredith (mom)


Some common causes of dysphagia in adults include head or neck cancer, TBI (traumatic brain injury), progressive diseases, post-surgical complications, esophageal dysfunction, and aging. The evaluative process includes clinical swallowing evaluations, modified barium swallow studies, and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of the swallow (FEES). Adult patients are typically seen one to three times per week. ​

What areas does adult dysphagia therapy address?

  • Active oral and pharyngeal exercise plans
  • Swallowing strategies
  • Diet modifications
  • Biofeedback
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
  • Expiratory muscle strength trainer (ESMT)


We are committed to providing prompt appointments to patients who need evaluation and treatment. To initiate therapy, we will need:

  • A prescription from you or your child's primary care physician, ENT or specialist ordering speech therapy services, which includes a diagnosis code.
  • An initial evaluation scheduled at Mary Rutan Therapy & Sports Medicine.​

Call 937.593.0822 to schedule an initial evaluation at our Bellefontaine location, or 937.887.0163 to schedule an evaluation at our Urbana location.