SpeechPathology.com Phone: 800-242-5183

New master brand. Same great company. Introducing continued! Read Our Story

Presence Learning

Habituation & Oral Feeding

George Fluharty, M.A., CCC-SLP

January 16, 2012

Share:

Question

Please explain the concept of habituation as it relates to oral feeding. 

Answer

Habituation occurs when the nervous system responds with reduced intensity to repeated stimuli.  For example, if you hear a noise in the background and you keep hearing the exact same noise, you will soon stop paying attention to it.  In fact, you may not even notice it.  You will habituate to it, so that it is no longer in your consciousness, unless perhaps you make a special effort to pay attention to it.  Another example is found in experiments psychologists did when they would put a dot on a contact lens so that it would continuously occupy the same place in a subject’s visual field.  The psychologists found that a person would cease to perceive that stimuli after they had initially seen it when they habituated to the stimuli.  If you think of the first time you eat something or really have any experience, the novel experience may be more intense, which is great for avoiding hazards in the environment, but if every sensation still has that strong priority of a novel sensation, then it could easily overwhelm someone.  When eating, if each bite of food was like you bit into it for the first time, the intensity of that sensation might make it difficult to keep eating.

Different therapeutic approaches seem to be geared towards improving habituation.  One example of that would be approaches that start with somebody eating a food that they already accept, and then increasing the variety of food that they will eat -- foods that are a little bit different -- and adding that to the foods that someone will recognize.  When someone cuts themselves off from sensation, they make the problem of reduced habituation worse, perhaps, because they're avoiding sensations; thus, everything seems like a novel experience.  The more a person can make sensations habitual, the easier it may be for that person to accept them.

George Fluharty is an SLP with more than 30 years experience treating neurogenic communication disorders.  His work has been published in Brain Injury, Clinical Rehabilitation, and Advance for SLPs.  In 2003, he received the Clinical Service Award from the Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin (BIAW) for outstanding clinical service. 

Related Courses

Medicare Muscle: Creating Defensible Documentation
Presented by Lorelei O'Hara, M.A., CCC-SLP
Video

Presenter

Lorelei O'Hara, M.A., CCC-SLP
Course: #6346 1 Hour
  'This is complex information on Medicare and Medicaid that was broken down in a manageable way for even the newest of therapists to understand'   Read Reviews
As claim scrutiny increases, it becomes critical that rehab professionals understand Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements, and how to craft content that shows how our services met those requirements. This course will teach the requirements for services to be reimbursable by Medicare, as well as how to present SLP services through quality documentation.

Pharmacology and Swallowing - Part 1
Presented by Denise Dougherty, M.A., SLP
Video

Presenter

Denise Dougherty, M.A., SLP
Course: #6502 1 Hour
  'Excellent course handouts, valuable elderly population information'   Read Reviews
Medications can contribute to/exacerbate a patient’s dysphagia. This course will discuss the absorption and metabolism of medications, intended and unintended impact of medications, physiologic changes in the older adult and possible interactions that may occur with drugs, herbs and foods. A list of resources will be provided. (Part 2 - Course #6623)

Pharmacology and Swallowing - Part 2
Presented by Denise Dougherty, M.A., SLP
Video

Presenter

Denise Dougherty, M.A., SLP
Course: #6569 1 Hour
  'Excellent med review'   Read Reviews
Medications can contribute to/exacerbate a patient’s dysphagia. This course will discuss meds and the phases of the swallow; physiologic changes in the older adult; possible interactions that may occur with drugs, herbs and foods; and impact of meds on taste/smell. Medications can also create a chronic cough and increased secretions, which may be mistaken as a dysphagia. A list of resources will be provided. (Part 1 - Course #6608)

Post-extubation Dysphagia
Presented by Carmin Bartow, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S
Video

Presenter

Carmin Bartow, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S
Course: #6663 1 Hour
  'Good evidence base info to share wit'   Read Reviews
This second installment of the Vanderbilt SP Journal Club is designed for SLPs interested in learning more about evidence based practice for their post-extubation dysphagic patients. The findings and clinical implications of three articles focusing on post-extubation dysphagia will be reviewed.

Oral Care with Dementia Patients - Dealing with Care-Resistant Behaviors
Presented by Angela Mansolillo, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S
Video

Presenter

Angela Mansolillo, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S
Course: #6652 1 Hour
  'Excellent recommendations and suggestions for combative patients'   Read Reviews
The oral care imperative is clear – good oral hygiene has been demonstrated to improve level of alertness, increase oral intake, reduce aspiration pneumonia risk and impact general health. But in individuals with dementia, care-resistant behaviors (e.g.biting, hitting, refusing to open mouth) often interfere with oral health interventions. This course will review factors affecting oral health in the elderly and discuss oral hygiene assessment and interventions. Strategies for both avoiding care-resistant behaviors and addressing them once they have occurred will be provided. Suggestions for increasing staff participation in oral hygiene programs will also be discussed.