Authors: Budhan J, Scarborough D, Kuren MB
Title: The Impact of a Novel Gaming Reinforcement System on Oral Intake Outcomes in Pediatric Feeding Therapy: A Single Case Study
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2019 28(2): 394-407
Year: 2019
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: The aim of this study was to implement a novel reinforcement strategy into traditional dysphagia therapy with a school-age child diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome, anxiety, and a hypersensitive gag reflex response. This clinical focus article evaluated the impact of a computer-based straw-drinking game on total liquid volume intake and the relationship between motivation and its role in feeding therapy. Method: A longitudinal pilot study was used and required the development and implementation of a computer-based straw-drinking game as a novel reinforcement strategy. The gaming system was implemented to supplement ongoing dysphagia treatment in a single-subject case study design utilizing a client with pediatric dysphagia. Results: The participant exhibited a trend of increased endurance during therapy sessions, allowing for increased volume per sip, increased trials per session, and decreased time between sequential trials. Average daily volume of oral intake remained less than 30 ml. Conclusions: The gaming system maximized opportunities for orosensory desensitization of tactile input, resulting in increased comfort and endurance during therapy sessions, leading to more opportunities to practice the swallow. A novelty effect was observed as motivation and interest in the gaming system appeared greatest at the onset of the study. Generalized fatigue and anxiety continue to serve as barriers to more significant progress.

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