Maintaining SLPs as the Preferred Providers of Dysphagia Services: A Call to Action

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in the general medical hospital setting spend approximately half of their time providing swallowing services. Other professions, including occupational therapists (OTs) and dietitians, promote themselves as disciplines well suited to assist patients with dysphagia. Responses to a survey distributed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA) in 2007 indicated that 83% of SLPs working in hospitals believed encroachment and defining professional boundaries was a problem. The highest level of personal experience with encroachment was with occupational therapy. Effective 2009, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) began offering Specialty Certification in Feeding, Eating and Swallowing (SCFES) to OTs and OTAs who meet specific educational and clinical experience requirements. This article reviews the many reasons why SLPs are the professionals best suited for assisting patients with swallowing disorders. It provides specific strategies to assist SLPs in promoting our discipline as the providers of dysphagia services.

from Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)

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Housed at the internationally renowned Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Callier Library a branch facility of the McDermott Library at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Posted on December 21, 2010, in Research. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I am a speech-language pathologist. I work mostly with dysphagia patients and I definitely think it is a specialty that should be limited to SLP’s. I have learned so much through my 15 years of experience. I can help people so much more and so much more safely now than I could have years ago. I recently discovered that using resistance exercises work so much better than other exercises to improve swallow function. There is a device that is designed for resistance exercise. It’s called the ISO swallowing exercise device. I have found it to be very effective. The website is Has anyone else tried it? Or does anyone have any other great tips for dysphagia therapy?

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