Neuromuscular diseases (NMD) are characterized by their great diversity, both clinically and genetically. They affect children as well as adults and have in common the impairment of one or more elements making up the motor unit. The vast majority are linked to genetic defects, especially in the pediatric population, but it can have another origin, notably autoimmune. Among the many clinical manifestations, motor or not, related to these diseases, the problems associated with swallowing and phonation have been relatively unstudied in children.
In an article published in March 2020, Dutch specialists report the results of a survey carried out in twelve care facilities (hospitals and rehabilitation centers) in 295 children with MNM and an average age of 11 years. All were assessed by a speech-language pathologist according to a defined protocol. Dysphagia has been shown to be very common, with almost half of children having it. Chewing disorders were in the foreground, far ahead of swallowing disorders themselves. The frequency of dysarthria was slightly lower (31%) but still significant. The authors insist on the need to detect them early in order to implement adapted care in speech therapy.