Coronavirus: information and updates

Eating difficulties

Some disabled children stop wanting to eat and drink. This might be because they have experienced difficulties in the past. Sometimes it can continue, even when the original cause of the difficulty has been resolved.

Warning Always seek professional guidance

A GP, dietician and speech and language therapist (SLT) will be able to give support and strategies to ensure mealtimes are safe, enjoyable and provide enough nutrition.

It’s important not to force your child to eat and drink if they do not want to, as this can make it even harder for them to eat and drink. Eating and drinking should be an enjoyable experience.


The most common reflux symptom is heartburn. This can be a burning feeling in the chest and upper tummy that happens after eating.

Some people may experience pain or difficulty with swallowing. It can also give an acidic taste in the mouth and cause people to feel sick.

Reflux can make you feel uncomfortable and tired as it can affect your sleep if you eat too close to your bedtime.


Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)

A speech and language therapist can help if your child is having difficulties with their swallowing. They will watch them eat and drink and can often make recommendations based on this.

Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)

Tube or non-oral feeding

Tube feeding may be necessary for some children who are not able to suck or swallow to get proper nutrition or to avoid food passing into the lungs rather than the stomach.

Some children need tube feeding to make sure they get enough calories to stay healthy. Others may need tube feeding to avoid food and drinking going down into the lungs.

NGT (Nasogastric Tube)

An NGT tube passes directly into the tummy via the nose.

PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy)

PEG passes directly through the skin into the stomach.

Some children have some food via their mouth and some food via the tube. Your SLT and dietician will be able to advise how much to give via the mouth and tube.

Tube feeding

Eating problems: further help

Talk to our online community about diet and nutrition.

You can find further help for disabled children with eating problems or feeding issues from:

Last reviewed by Scope on: 12/08/2020

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