02 Nov 2023 | Gudrun Jansen

Survey at the August-Hermann-Werner School on eating and drinking ability


The August-Hermann-Werner School is a public centre for special education and counselling with a boarding school. It focusses on physical and motor development and is sponsored by the German state Baden-Württemberg.

At the beginning of the school year 2023/24, our F.O.T.T.® task force initiated a survey on 'eating and drinking ability' among the 21 classes and 2 school kindergarten groups with a total of 150 students.

We used the EDACS (Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System) developed by the University Children's Hospital Zurich (see link below) in an adapted version for all our students, regardless of age and diagnosis.
With this 5-level classification system, the class teams assessed each student’s individual eating and drinking ability. This was supplemented by the identification of the support required.

110 students were assessed. That is a 78% response rate.
The result captures a reality in numbers that we have been aware of during activities of daily living for a long time: more than half of our students have sensory-motor problems with food intake and need support from assistive devices and/or staff.

However, the benefit of EDACS is not limited to the collection of data. Just dealing with the topic - when filling out the questionnaire - sensitizes the class teams and encourages them to take a closer look. This generates new therapeutic approaches and the development of learning content for the students. How can skills for eating and drinking safely and independently be facilitated and improved? How do I shape the mealtime-situation? Is there a need for staff training?
Among the students who are completely dependent on support, 7 are provided with a PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy).
How do we ensure helpful, functional input and learning in the facio-oral area?

With its survey the F.O.T.T.® task force wants to encourage questions and consequently stimulate important changes in the everyday life of an all-day school with boarding school.