Kynzi suffered a brain injury at four months old, resulting in developmental regression and severe seizures.
At two, Kynzi was placed on medication and a diet plan to control her seizures, however, she further regressed and began losing weight. Due to weakness, weight loss, and consistent aspiration, she received a g-tube. Kynzi began speech therapy with THERAPY 2000 in 2019, at five years old, and is currently treated by Kimberly Marcum, MA, CCC-SLP. When she started therapy, Kynzi couldn’t eat or drink anything by mouth and had severe oral aversion to all tastes, temperatures, and textures. She also had limited range of motion of oral structures and significant weakness.
Treatment began with a variety of interventions, including desensitization techniques to decrease aversion to touch and taste, taste trials to re-introduce flavors, and Beckman Oral Motor protocols to increase awareness and range of motion of oral structures. Once Kynzi’s seizures were medically controlled, NMES was utilized to help regain the strength to safely swallow. Through this, Kynzi passed her swallow study in July 2020, and therapy progressed to focus on increasing oral feeds and working toward tube weaning.
Since passing her swallow study in July, Kynzi has gone from oral trials only during therapy to consuming eight ounces of Pediasure by mouth for the majority of her feedings! She is also able to participate in pleasure feedings of both smooth puree and puree with small chunks! Recently, she was able to try warm broccoli and cheese soup and bites of cold strawberry cheesecake!
Kynzi is now able to enjoy many flavors of food with varying texture and temperature, and Kynzi’s dietitian recently reduced her tube feedings because she is steadily gaining weight through oral feeding.
Previously, Kynzi used to begin crying the moment Marcum entered her home, but now, she does a little happy dance once she knows it is time to enjoy a meal during speech feeding therapy!
Kynzi’s parents and nurse said they are so excited about Kynzi’s progress. They regularly participate in feeding therapy sessions and are able to use support strategies that help Kynzi carryover her skills into the home and community!
Moving forward, Kynzi’s therapy will focus on increasing not only her oral intake, but the variety of food textures she is able to enjoy as she continues to wean from the g-tube. The ultimate goal is for Kynzi to eat and drink fully by mouth so she can continue to grow and enjoy mealtimes with her family and friends.