K’aine is a sweet and happy 10-month-old baby. In December 2019, he had aspiration pneumonia, and his mom was worried about how he would enjoy food and safely eat.

During a swallow study with a different provider in March 2020, he had aspiration and penetration, which caused unconformable eating and drinking. After minimal progress, K’aine was referred to THERAPY 2000 and began speech therapy with M’Kinna Decker in the agency’s West Texas region. During K’aine’s initial evaluation, he choked on all consistencies of liquids, forcing Decker to stop the evaluation for his safety.

The goal for therapy was to make eating and drinking safe, fun, and enjoyable. First, Decker developed a home exercise program that included proper positioning of the bottle and liquid consistency. Changing the bottle nipple and sippy cup decreased his signs and symptoms of aspiration and penetration. Decker also provided parent education about thickening formula, providing appropriate bottle/sippy cup, and positioning during mealtimes.

K’aine can now drink thin liquid without assistance, and he loves bananas, yogurt, and apple juice. His favorite thing to do is drink apple juice with a straw, and he can now participate in family mealtimes without his parents worrying for his safety.

Much of the time, K’aine is able to eat what the family is eating, and he no longer chokes on food or liquids. He has gained weight and grown so much that he no longer fits in his car seat. K’aine’s mother and sister love playing with him during mealtimes and trying new foods together. Because of K’aine’s progress and success, Decker has reduced frequency from twice weekly to once weekly after just two months of therapy.

K’aine’s family is so proud of his success and feels so relieved that he can enjoy eating and drinking!