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Eating and Drinking Classification System (EDACS)

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Supplemental – Highly Recommended: Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Short Description of Instrument

The purpose of the Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System (EDACS) is to classify how individuals with cerebral palsy eat and drink in everyday life using distinctions that are meaningful. EDACS provides a systematic way of describing an individual's eating and drinking in five different levels of ability (from Level 1: able to eat efficiently to Level 5: cannot eat safely). The focus is on the functional activities of eating and drinking such as sucking, biting, chewing, swallowing, and keeping food or fluid in the mouth.

Comments/Special Instructions
EDACS is not an assessment tool to look in detail at the component parts of eating and drinking. It does not provide the comprehensive mealtime guidance required by some individuals with cerebral palsy to eat and drink safely and efficiently (Sellers et al., 2013).
I. Eats and drinks safely and efficiently
II. Eats and drinks safely but with some limits to efficiency
III. Eats and drinks with some limitations to safety; there may be limitations to efficiency
IV. Eats and drinks with significant limitations to safety
V. Unable to eat and drink safely – tube feeding may be considered to provide nutrition
EDACS is functional eating analog of scales used in defining other areas of functional ability in people with CP, such as the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), the Manual Ability Classification System (MACS), and the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS).
Sellers D, Mandy A, Pennington L, Hankins M, Morris C. Development and reliability of a system to classify the eating and drinking ability of people with cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2014;56(3):245-251.
Sellers D, Mandy A, Pennington L, Hankins M, Morris C. Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System: Chailey Heritage Clinical Services 2013 [cited 2016 7 July]. Available from:
Additional References:
Calis EA, Veugelers R, Sheppard JJ, Tibboel D, Evenhuis HM, Penning C. Dysphagia in children with severe generalized cerebral palsy and intellectual disability. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2008;50(8):625-630.
Sellers D. Questions about aspiration for children with eating, drinking, and swallowing difficulties. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2016;58(6):530.


Document last updated July 2019