Ask the Experts: October 2021

Each month in TulsaKids Magazine, local experts answer frequently asked questions from their area of expertise.

If you have a question you’d like to “Ask the Expert,” feel free to contact the expert directly or email your question to

Q: What is a feeding disorder, and what are some indicators that my child may need feeding therapy?

Ate Karin CantrellA: Feeding is a developmental skill that is really an intricate combination of skills, using 26 muscles and six cranial nerves. It is a complex process involving the use of every organ and all the senses.

A pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) is impaired oral intake that is not age-appropriate and is associated with medical, nutritional, feeding skill or psychosocial dysfunction.

Feeding therapy may be indicated if your child has limited volume of intake, is a slow eater taking longer than 30 minutes to eat, has latch issues on the nipple, has weight loss or difficulty with weight gain, will only eat a small number of foods, has a history of choking, gagging, pocketing foods or aspiration, will only eat certain textures or colors of foods, has excessive drooling, is failing to advance to age-appropriate textures or utensils, has food spillage from the mouth or nose, has gurgly or hoarse breathing sounds while eating, or is vomiting at or shortly after meals.

HTR has a dedicated team of therapists who can assess your child and provide appropriate interventions to manage a feeding disorder.

Karin Cantrell, MS, CCC-SLP
HTR Pediatric Therapy
6715 E. 41st St., Tulsa

Q: My child seems to always be congested and struggles to breathe through their nose. How can I help them breathe more comfortably?

Eoent Dr Massoths Portrait July 2020A: Nasal obstruction occurs when one or both nasal passages are blocked. This can be caused by several factors such as swelling of the nasal lining due to allergies, adenoid enlargement, a deviated septum, a foreign body, or, rarely, a cyst or mass. Often, the cause can be determined by a careful history and examination of the nose. In some cases, a small, flexible camera can be used in the clinic to evaluate the entire nasal cavity. Treatment can be tailored based on the child’s age and underlying cause of their nasal obstruction. This can include simple nasal washes, medications taken by mouth or sprayed into the nose, allergy desensitization, and in some cases, surgery. Left untreated, nasal blockage can affect general wellbeing, sleep quality, and even ear health and hearing. If congestion does not resolve on its own or with over-the-counter medication, it can be helpful to visit with an ear, nose and throat doctor. They can help to identify the underlying cause and find an effective treatment.

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Landon Massoth, MD
Eastern Oklahoma Ear, Nose and Throat
Two Tulsa Locations: 5020 E 68th St. and 9343 S. Mingo Rd.

Q: Why is there so much repetition in swimming lessons? Sometimes it looks like they’re doing the same thing over and over and over.

A: It can be hard to watch your kids do the same things over and over in swim lessons, especially when you think they’re ready to move onto another skill. But repetition is important! We wouldn’t expect our kids to ride a bike, tie their shoes, etc., without plenty of practice. The same goes for learning to swim!

Additionally, many young kids like to listen to or watch the same book or movie over and over again. Have you ever stopped to wonder why they enjoy the repetition?

Kids find comfort in the familiar, and as their brains develop, they gain something new every time they watch, read or do the same thing. That’s because children need to repeat things over and over in order to build a strong neurologic pathway. While strengthening that pathway, they’re also building more connections in the brain that enhance other rote learning activities, such as memorizing sight words or math facts. Simply put, swim lessons can help children create connections and find detours around other learning roadblocks they may be experiencing.

Sarah Clavin

Miller Swim School
6415 S. Mingo Rd., Tulsa, OK, 918-254-1988

Miller Swim School Jenks
525 W. 91st St. S., Tulsa, OK, 918-254-1988

Q: My son hates going to reading tutoring and honestly isn’t making much progress, but he needs the practice. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Dyslexia is so much more then reading struggles. If it were as simple as just re-teaching how to read, long-term tutoring would not be in the experiences of those who struggle with dyslexia. Tutoring focuses on the issue at hand. This could be current schoolwork or re-learning a concept to keep up with school assignments. Occupational and Speech Therapy delves much deeper to explore the “why” behind the struggles you see and your child experiences. There is always an underlying reason why someone has difficulty with reading. For some, reading difficulties are due to less-than-average ability in memory, or they may be unable to accurately process what they see or hear or unable to associate sounds with letters. Understanding the “why” is the first step to reading success. Accommodations and strategies are only a piece of what is helpful. Without treating the “why,” many children go from one reading program to the next without ever making permanent change, leaving them frustrated and often on an academic or career trajectory that does not really reflect their true potential.

Dr. Penny Stack, OTD, OTR/L, CLT
Dyslexia Center of Tulsa

8988 S. Sheridan Rd #D1,
Tulsa OK 74133

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