Abstract: Disorders of eating, drinking and swallowing (also known as
„dysphagia‟) commonly affect people with Down‟s syndrome (DS) across
the lifespan. This is due to the influence of several factors, including the
abnormal oral-facial features that are characteristic of the syndrome, as
well as comorbid health conditions that impact on the safety and integrity
of the swallowing process.
The relevant literature is consulted to explore aspects of the eating,
drinking and swallowing process in people with Down‟s syndrome from
birth onwards, and examine how this process differs from that in the
Discussion focuses on how the typical eating, drinking and
swallowing process in DS individuals is frequently associated with
abnormal functioning of the swallowing mechanism at various levels, and
how it can very often lead to dysphagia and its potentially life-threatening
Finally, this paper considers the role of healthcare practitioners in the
identification and management of dysphagia in individuals with DS,
including implications for treatment planning and health service delivery.