The Japanese Journal of Dysphagia Rehabilitation
Online ISSN : 2434-2254
Print ISSN : 1343-8441
Clinical Report
Intervention Study of Desensitization Therapy for Three Dysphagic Children with Tactile Hyperesthesia
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2009 Volume 13 Issue 3 Pages 237-242


[Purpose] Many children with dysphagia often have tactile hyperesthesia or sensory defensiveness against the oral area. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of desensitization therapy in school children with tactile hyperesthesia.

[Subjects and Methods] The subjects were three disabled school children (Subject A, an 8-year-old boy with Down syndrome; Subject B, an 8-year-old boy with cerebral palsy; and Subject C, an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy) who attended a class for disabled children at an elementary school in Tokyo. A dentist specializing in the training of children with dysphagia evaluated their tactile hyperesthesia over the whole body, on the face, and around the oral area. An adverse reaction upon tactile stimulus was judged to be a major factor in determining the reaction to tactile hyperesthesia, and was differentiated from physiological reaction. The guardians of subjects performed desensitization therapy once a day at home. The study period was from February 2007 to February 2008.

[Results] In Subject A, the degree of tactile hyperesthesia reduced 1 month after the start of therapy. After 1 year, tactile hyperesthesia completely disappeared on part of the face. In Subject B, the region of tactile hyperesthesia was markedly decreased, and the extent of the symptom was alleviated after 1 year. In Subject C, the tactile hyperesthesia remained unchanged.

[Conclusion] 1. Desensitization therapy was effective for tactile hyperesthesia, however, it was not always effective for all the cases in this study.

2. This study suggested that tactile hyperesthesia in feeding therapy should be appropriately defined, and it is very important to establish the most suitable desensitization therapy for individual subjects.

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© 2009 The Japanese Society of Dysphagia Rehabilitation
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