Alternatives to a Barium Swallow Study?

Updated on June 17, 2018
J.K. asks from Boston, MA
4 answers

My daughter is 6 and yesterday had her 7th barium swallow study at a local children's hospital. She has issues with aspiration and while we were lucky enough to avoid a g tube, her diet is pretty much completely compromised of pediasure. We had 6 previous swallow studies which she was completely uncooperative, despite the fact that we did a social story and practiced in the office (where she wasn't cooperative either) and offered to buy her a new toy if she is takes a big girl bite. At first she refused to eat, and her SLP told her "This is going to happen, you can choose when, but it's going to happen." After 4 1/2 hours of just sitting there refusing to take a bite, the SLP told her to take a bite and and if she refused the SLP started putting it to her lips. If she still refused the SLP ignored her for 10-20 seconds and tried again. After 2 hours of this I went in the room and told her sternly, you wither take a bite or mommy is going outside and leaving you here. We told her that we’re not going anywhere until she takes a big girl bite. Didn't work. After 8 hours we left. She is very stubborn and presistent. I have accepted that maybe she just isn't going to cooperate but the doctor wants to evaluate her swallow. With other procedures like blood pressure you can just hold her down if she doesn't cooperate but this is something that requires active cooperation. Are there any alternative procedures that don't require cooperation on her part that can evaluate her swallow?

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answers from Portland on

What did her doctor suggest? Perhaps she'd cooperate if she's mildly sedated with an antianxiety medication. Perhaps a child therapist could help her.

I suggest continuing to get her co operation for 8 hours is likely reinforcing her need to not cooperate. That much time becomes a power struggle. No one wins. Threatening to leave her makes the situation worse by adding to her feelings of having no power and creates fear. You won't leave her. Making threats you cannot follow through on compromises your relationship. She will not believe you when you make other statements. She loses trust in what you say.

I suggest you back off, stop pushing her, allow her to save face. At this point, she's entrenched in no.

Have you and the LSP sympathized with her, explained why this is important and genuinely let her decide?

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answers from New York on

I am not sure how you are going to get her to take a bite or if there are any alternatives to the swallow test. Your doctor doesn’t have any other suggestions? The most important thing is to take her off Pediasure as it is just a chemical toxic drink full of GMO’s. Find a healthy plant based protein shake instead. If you would like me to send you a sample of the brand I use and recommend, just let me know. Good luck! I really hope she will cooperate so that you can get to the bottom of this.

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answers from Washington DC on

well, you screwed the pooch by making a threat you didn't (and couldn't) actually follow through with.

don't do that.

while it's exasperating that she's that strong-willed, it's also kind of admirable.

the specialists should have some better coping techniques. this isn't their first rodeo.

but it IS a hospital. i'd make arrangements to do exactly what you first said you'd do- leave her there until she cooperates.

it's also possible that some mild sedation could make her a little more amenable to persuasion.

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answers from San Francisco on

This sounds like a question you should be asking her doctor.

1 mom found this helpful
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