The basis for the inner feeding team is the jaw, or chin. It controls and regulates the movements of the other muscles, (including the lips and tongue). The jaw may have two significant problems that accompany it. The first is known as chin retraction. This condition is found mainly in individuals with neurological impairments. The reasons for this being that these individuals tend to show more neck extension and shoulder retraction. With this poor development, the jaw is pushed forward by the rest of the skeletal structure. The jaw then opens irregularly and with no set pattern. It may even become stuck in an open position. Feeding is difficult because the child has little or no control over his jaw.
Another problem that may occur with the jaw, but is less common, is chin retraction. This movement is a pulling back of the lower jaw, making it difficult for the mouth to open fully. Strain is placed on the mouth and air passage forming a smaller tunnel of flow. This then creates a problem with swallowing. A child with this type of problem must not be given solid, tough, or chewy food that is not already chopped up. Otherwise choking may occur.
In addition to problems with the chin are problems with the tongue. The tongue is one of the major muscles of the mouth. The ability of the tongue to change shape contributes to the efficiency and skill with which food can be organized and controlled in the mouth. If the tongue becomes thin, thick, flat, bunched, pointed, cupped, or humped, then it cannot function properly.
The first problem... [continues]
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