Evan finally had his second swallow study yesterday (it had to be rescheduled a couple times due to uncooperative weather). I am pleased to say that he "passed" and is cleared for purees, 5-6 spoonfuls at a time. We were expecting some small improvement, but this is big! To go from nothing...to "spoonfuls" (he skipped "pea-size" amounts entirely!).
Evan still is not cleared for thin liquids, but this is a huge jump for him. His last swallow study was about 1 year ago, just after he began VitalStim therapy. At that time, he was very obviously aspirating small amounts between swallows. We were told not to give him anything to eat orally (the biggest Catch-22 of all--how are you supposed to learn how to do something better if you aren't allowed to practice?).
So what does this mean in practice? Well, we are in the midst of a 6-month trial of prophylactic antibiotics and no oral feeding, to see if this makes a difference in the frequency of "ear" infections. So we aren't going to jump right back in pushing the oral feeds. Right now, I feel Evan eating orally is something I am doing more for me than for him. He is happy being tube fed--he doesn't know any different. And if it keeps him from being sick so often...that's a great thing. When Evan gets older, and bigger, his anatomy may be different enough that he won't be so prone to getting sick.