Objectives:: Dysphagia and impaired saliva control are common in children and adolescents with congenital and developmental disabilities. The aim of the present review was to investigate the evidence base for oral sensory-motor interventions in children and adolescents with dysphagia or impaired saliva control secondary to congenital or early-acquired disabilities and to make recommendations regarding methods for intervention.
Methods:: A review of the literature from 2000 to 2016, including oral sensory-motor intervention studies for children and adolescents (3-18 years of age) with dysphagia or impaired saliva control secondary to congenital or early-acquired disabilities, was performed. The literature search included the PubMed, CINAHL, Medline, SpeechBITE, OVID, ERIC, Cochrane, and Google Scholar databases. Primary studies were evaluated on a 4-grade scale using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation.
Results:: Twenty primary studies of oral sensory-motor interventions for dysphagia and 6 studies for the treatment of impaired saliva control fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Of these, 3 were randomized, controlled trials. Five systematic reviews and 16 narrative reviews were also included. Limited and moderately strong recommendations were made on the basis of the grading results from the primary studies. The studies reported good results, but study design was often insufficient, and the study groups were small. The systematic reviews confirmed the lack of high scientific support for oral sensory-motor interventions in children and adolescents with congenital and developmental disabilities.
Conclusions:: There is an urgent need for high-quality studies that could serve as the basis for strong recommendations relating to oral sensory-motor interventions for children with dysphagia and impaired saliva control.
Keywords: children; deglutition; deglutition disorders; drooling; dysphagia; intervention.