Are you prepared?

According to ASHA’s 2013 Health Care Survey, dysphagia is the largest practice area in medical settings. In 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011, the majority of respondents (87%–90%) indicated that no professional other than SLPs provided primary swallowing services in their facility. If SLPs are going to represent the field as dysphagia specialists, that claim needs to be supported with the necessary skills and competence. Academic programs are the starting point for this training.

Yvette McCoy and Rinki Varindani Desai, created this quick, anonymous, 5 question survey to assess the adequacy of dysphagia preparation in U.S. graduate schools. They have gotten in touch with ASHA and will be emailing the results to the Academic Affairs Board by July 31st, 2015. Please take this survey and contribute to make a difference. Thank you for your time.

Do current graduate programs in the U.S prepare SLPs adequately to provide dysphagia services after graduation?

Click here to take this 5 question survey.

  • Here are some excellent video courses on dysphagia by expert in the field









  1. Thank you to our volunteers and colleagues for working on this survey. Glad the results will be shared with the Council on Academic Accreditation. It is a reality that there is only so much that can be taught in a 15-week dysphagia course, and that where “it all comes together” for the graduate student is during completion of their externships. However, many hospitals are not taking graduate students (as per already big workload) and many are not hiring CFs either. Everyone wants SLPs “with experience” but won’t provide such experience. Something to think about… We need to start designing some solutions, and University programs need to be in on the discussion. Again, thanks for doing this.

  2. SO GLAD I FOUND THIS. I am a new grad and just started my CF at a SNF. I had one day orientation to the computer system then just thrown in with 8 patients the next day ALONE! I am struggling hard already. And paperwork really hasn’t started. I did my externship at an outpatient facility with stroke patients and head and neck cancer where we used MBSS and had cognitively aware people to do lots of swallowing exercises. At a nursing home, I am lost!

  3. Thank you Jonathan for posting on this issue. I wanted to publicly thank our social media colleagues, Yvette McCoy, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S and Rinki Varindani Desai, MS, CCC-SLP, for their terrific work on this!

    I will continue to share this post and survey.

    It takes good externships to really absorb the skills and build confidence. It can take more than 3 months at a challenging placement (i.e., 6 months for hospital placements) to really reach a point of synthesis. I can recall students breaking down with tears by the half-way point, and then soaring high and teaching other students by the end of the placement.

    Maybe there needs to be more support from employers for SLPs in the field to take students. It is really our duty to the field to continue to teach the next generation.

  4. Big thank you to Dysphagia Cafe for sharing our survey and helping us spread the word about our efforts to make a difference.

    Thank you Dr. Luis Riquelme for your support. This is a small start and a preliminary survey, but we hope the 700+ participants who have taken it will be enough of a collective voice to ring some bells for the CAA and ASHA’s Academic Affairs Board. We agree the problem is multi-fold. There are so many things to think about (the sheer vastness of our field, number of core topics to be covered, limited resources, off-site CFY supervision etc); dysphagia preparation at the graduate level is an important one among them. We will keep you posted on our progress with this endeavor. Thanks again! 🙂