Meet Mateo: Patient Success Story

Messy-mouthed Mateo hasn’t always had a messy mouth when eating, as he had to rely on a g-tube to meet his nutritional needs for the first part of his life. After spending some time in NICU, he was able to go home with his family with diagnoses of oral-pharyngeal dysphagia, pediatric feeding disorder, and plagiocephaly. This is when Therapy 2000/Green Apple Therapy stepped in to provide clinical support to the family and assure Mateo had every chance to thrive! When Mateo was evaluated for feeding therapy by his speech-language pathologist (SLP), he required assistance for positioning and pacing from a therapist/caregiver when drinking his bottle and was only able to safely consume enough thickened liquids by mouth to meet about 25% of his nutritional needs before fatiguing and falling asleep.

Mateo’s family worked closely with his SLP as they tried different strategies to help Mateo reach his goal of safe and successful bottle feeding, including modifying positional supports to make sure he was in good alignment, providing cues to facilitate timing and sequencing of his feeding, and adjusting the consistency of the liquid as well as the type of the bottle nipple to control the flow. Under the guidance of his highly trained SLP, it was determined that Mateo was ready to start trying more solid foods, but he continued to have struggles with swallowing due to the uneven shape of his lower jaw as a result of plagiocephaly. But like a true Texan, Mateo wasn’t going to let that stop him from enjoying a DQ ice cream cone, so he and his family persevered with support from their SLP!

With more hard work, Mateo improved the strength and coordination needed to be able to safely chew and swallow, which has allowed him to drink thin liquids, take food off of a spoon, and receive ALL of his nutrition by mouth. Originally, Mateo was receiving feeding therapy 2x/week, but with his steady progress and his family’s dedication to the HEP provided by their SLP, therapy services decreased to 1x/week, then 2x/month, and now Mateo has graduated from feeding therapy and is on his way to eating his family out of house and home. Bye-bye, g-tube! Mateo and his family now have the freedom to participate in community outings more often and are back to a normal sleeping schedule since g-tube feedings are no longer part of their routine.

Mealtimes are so much more than scheduled times to feed our bodies; they are a chance to build relationships and be included in the most basic of daily routines. Mateo’s family is thrilled that their son can now eat for the nutrition he needs to grow, and that he can also be a part of time with the family as they enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures – FOOD!

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