My SLP Story

The Best Thing I Learned This Summer {Linky}

By July 27, 2015 23 Comments

I can hardly believe summer break is almost over.  I have been so busy, and it has gone by too quick. For this post,I am linking up with The Frenzied SLPs to share the best thing I have learned this summer. Click the image below to see what others are sharing.

This summer was my last semester of grad school (woo hoo!), and I had three classes to complete before officially graduating.  One of the classes I took was Pediatric Dysphagia, and let me tell you, I learned a lot!

We had completed adult dysphagia during a previous sesmester, so I figured pediatric dysphagia would be the same thing.  I was so wrong!  Evaluating and treating pediatric dysphagia is very different from evaluating and treating adult dysphagia.

Our class covered feeding and swallowing disorders in children.  We discussed different types of feeding disorders, different types of syndromes and birth complications that can result in difficulty with feeding/swallowing, and different treatment options.  One interesting thing I learned was that very few school based SLPs feel competent to treat dysphagia. As a school based SLP Assistant now SLP Intern) I can say that in the rural areas of Texas where I live, it is rare that we ever have a kiddo on caseload who needs treatment for feeding/swallowing disorders.  That’s not to say it never happens.  But it is rare.

Because it’s so rare, many school based SLPs don’t stay up-to-date with research/treatment techniques in the area of dysphagia.  But we never know when we might get a new student with dysphagia/feeding goals.  It’s usually a school district decision on whether or not to treat dysphagia at the school, but my take away from the class (other than evaluation/treatment skills) was this:  We, as school based SLPs, need to do what we can do to stay caught up with our ability to treat pediatric dysphagia.  Easier said than done, I know, but we just never know when we might get a student who will benefit from our skills. This can really be true of any area we address through speech services (voice, fluency, etc.).  The discussion of dysphagia in the schools reminded me of the importance of being ready for any child we might need to serve through speech therapy in the school setting.

I am hoping to keep up with my newly gained knowledge of pediatric dysphagia through research articles, trainings, and hopefully by working with some kiddos after school hours through home health or a pediatric clinic.  Do any of my school based SLP friends work with dysphagia in the schools or on the side for a clinic?  Do your schools offer training related to dysphagia? 


Author Kristin

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Join the discussion 23 Comments

  • Avatar TLC-SLP says:

    When I got out of Grad School, I so wanted to go into Pediatric Dysphagia (but at the hospital). I learned more hands on though when my baby was born than I did in Grad school (unfortunately). You will be my go to gal though since I am in desperate need of refreshers!

  • Many schools don't address dysphagia. There are some who really embrace it. Dysphagia teams are a great idea if your school ever decides to head that direction. Thanks for reading!

  • That is so true. It takes a lot of time to learn all there is to learn and I feel we can get "rusty" quickly when we don't use our skills frequently. I'm so glad there are tons of great trainings out there. Thank you for reading!

  • Thank you for reading! I'm glad you found it informative. 🙂

  • Thank you so much! That's one of the great things about being a new grad. Everything is fresh and I could really go any direction. I hope to stay up to date in this area, even as a school based SLP. Thank you for reading!

  • I'd be glad to help. There are tons of great trainings out there, too! Thanks for reading!

  • I will be glad to help any time! Thanks for reading!

  • I'm so glad! There is so much that goes into it. I could write many many more blog posts about it. Thank you for reading!

  • Thank you so much! I am so glad you found this post helpful. It is very different and I had no idea until the class really spelled it out for me. Thank you for reading!

  • Ashley, you are so right about the overlapping issues. I hope I can stay up to date with pediatric dysphagia training as a school based SLP. Thank you for reading!

  • I know things frequently change in the SLP world and I am so lucky to have had great training on current research based practice. I know there is much more to learn and I am so glad there are so many opportunities for additional training post grad school. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  • Jen, it was a great class. I found it very interesting. Thanks for reading!

  • Avatar Mary says:

    We don't work with dysphagia where I am since the state doesn't recognize it as a communication disorder. I had "on the job training" when I worked in a SNF, but obviously it was with adults. It's pretty fascinating!

  • I feel that many SLPs lack appropriate training in this area. Thank you for sharing!

  • What a wonderful post- very informative! Thank you for it! Have a wonderful end of summer!

  • Avatar Sparklle SLP says:

    Dysphagia is super scary to me and surely no pediatric background here. I like to keep the student clinicians close by taking student teachers often for exactly reasons like this. I am glad you can offer help when needed!! You go girl and congrats on finishing up!

  • Avatar miamcd says:

    Good to know who to go to if I ever need a dysphagia tune up. I am so clueless in that area (YIKES!)

  • Avatar Laura Dee says:

    It has been ages since my grad school classes, so I will be calling you to travel when I get a case!
    All Y’all Need

  • Avatar Edupreneur Today says:

    Wow! I've learned a lot about Pediatric Dysphagia from reading your post. Thanks for sharing so much info.

  • Avatar Tracy Morlan says:

    This is a GREAT post! While I am VERY experienced in adult dysphagia, I would NOT take on a pediatric case because I do not have the training to do so. Even in the health care realm, many folks do not understand that treating peds is very different than treating adults. Thanks again for spelling it out so well.

  • Pediatric Dysphagia was one of my favorite Grad School classes. I took so much away from it. I agree, as a school-based SLP we do not see much dysphagia. However, it is surprising how many overlapping issues are still present from kids who struggled with it. Great post!

  • Avatar annied says:

    I went to college in the early 80's and had NO training in dysphagia! Everything I have leaned has been post-graduate and I still have much to learn. You are very fortunate your training was more comprehensive!

  • How awesome that you got a class in pediatric dysphagia! It definitely isn't something that comes up often, but it does come up occasionally. My district does not work on dysphagia, and I have never had any training on pediatric dysphagia- just adult. Congrats on finishing grad school! It is an amazing accomplishment!