Some of our pupils have difficulties with eating and drinking. Our Speech and Language Therapists are trained to assess and treat people with these difficulties. Our team also consult with the School Dietician, Physiotherapists and Medical staff as your child’s posture, medical status and nutritional intake all need to be taken into consideration. The team can then, together, make recommendations on how to improve your child’s feeding and swallowing to keep them safe and healthy.

An effective way of managing dysphagia is to change the texture of food and drink. A ‘texture modified diet’ makes it easier for a person with swallowing difficulties to control their swallow. This includes using thickener in drinks.

In order to safeguard  pupils,  staff work to ensure clear and open communication and involve parents and carers as far as possible. All students have a written feeding plan in the form of a ‘place mat’ which is available at meal times, break times and on trips out. This ensures continuity of care and avoids error.

Our aim is to:

Ensure that all students are able to eat and drink and maintain their nutrition as safely as possible.

Have a team of people en-skilled to support all staff with identifying and addressing eating and drinking difficulties.

Ensure that students are supported to develop their independence in eating and drinking as appropriate.

Students who follow a diet based on these recommendations are catered for at school, but occasionally a school trip means a packed lunch may be required from home. It is important that the feeding plan is followed at all times so please make sure  any food sent from home takes into consideration recommendations made. It may be useful to check with the trip co-ordinator what facilities will be available on a trip. If there is a microwave, food items can be sent in to be heated up. If there is no microwave available then here are some ideas to work with for packed lunches which you may find useful, as we are aware that this can be tricky when eating out.

Food is categorised into Puree, Mashed, Easy to Chew or Bite and Dissolve options.

 Pureed Food :

Food that has been pureed and is completely smooth

It does not require any chewing

It can only be eaten with a spoon

It can be poured and spreads out if spilt

It should be a uniform texture with no ‘bits’ or loose fluids that have separated off

The texture is not sticky in the mouth

It should not contain any lumps, fibres, skins or pips.

Examples are:Pureed meal , such as a blended soup, hot in a flask, ,smooth  yoghurt, Pureed fruit, Ready Brek (hot milk in flask),

Mashed Food  :

Food is soft, tender and moist and needs very little chewing

It should be easy to mash with a  fork

A thick gravy or sauce may be mixed with in with the mashed food

It should be a uniform texture with no ‘bits’ or loose fluids that have separated off

It should not contain any lumps, fibres, skins or pips.

Examples are:  Mousse,  Fromage Frais, Custard Pots, Cake and custard, mashed ,soft fruits, mashed spaghetti  in sauce in flask.

Easy to Chew:

Examples are Cake and Custard/cream, Soft fruits, Cereal with milk, Vegetable curry (hot in a flask).

Bite and Dissolve:

Wotsits, Rusks, Prawn Crackers, Skips , Quavers, Organix, Chocolate Buttons, Sponge Fingers.

If you are concerned about these options limiting your child’s nutritional intake ,  remember this is only for occasional meals. Our School Dietician has assured us this is adequate  to satisfy nutritional requirements.

If you have any concerns, or guidance is needed, then please contact a member of the Communication Team who will be happy to advise you