Editorial: When I started Dysphagia Café almost 7 years ago, I told a co-worker about it and she said, “What’s on the menu?” I quickly told her that it was a blog not an actual café. So, you can imagine that when I stumbled across a Facebook post for D-Caf, I did a double take. No, it was not another blog about dysphagia, but it was, indeed, an actual cafe offering a unique dining experience for individuals with dysphagia.

D-CAF (Dysphagia Cafe) is South East Asia’s first therapy concept for individuals with Dysphagia. D-CAF by Amazing Speech Therapy (AST) is situated in their brand-new clinic in Singapore. According to Beatrice Teo, founder of AST, “D-CAF represents a step towards redefining the boundaries of traditional Speech Therapy as we advocate for and improve the quality of lives of individuals with dysphagia.”

D-CAF: Bridging the Gaps

Individuals with dysphagia face several limitations when it comes to simple pleasures like enjoying meals outside the home. D-CAF aims to bridge these gaps to provide a whole new experience.

Lack of resources in the community: Individuals with dysphagia often require a modified diet and fluid consistency but dining places do not provide such options, so they are often limited to eating at home.

Social stigma: Eating is a social activity. Individuals with dysphagia can no longer enjoy a typical meal as chewing and/or swallowing is difficult. They may need to be fed, have a prolonged feeding time, anterior spillage or occasionally cough when eating. In addition, they may have a nasogastric tube and avoid eating out due to stares they may receive in public.

Limited dysphagia therapy services in Singapore: Speech therapy support for dysphagia in the community is limited. In Singapore, dysphagia therapy is mostly provided in hospital inpatient and
outpatient settings and focuses more on clinical management than maximizing the pleasure of the dysphagia therapy experience.

Key features of D-CAF

Individuals can enjoy a delightful menu of specially modified diets. Menu items have been curated through years of R&D and manufactured locally in a factory with expertise from a food technician and dietician.

Every dish is thoughtfully presented and prepared to enhance the food’s appearance and taste, regardless of the consistency (puree, minced, soft or regular).

Swallowing therapists provide swallowing rehabilitation and consultation sessions during the meal to ensure clients are eating safely.

Individual and group therapy sessions available.

A safe space for clients to enjoy a delicious meal at their own pace, without facing social stigma.

Regular diet options can be provided for families who want to dine with their loved ones.

Wonderful platform to build a support network, to meet and mingle with others who have dysphagia.

Previous article5 Gift ideas for the speech-language pathologist
Next articleClinical relevance of the sensorimotor pathways in dysphagia management following tracheostomy
Ms Beatrice Teo is a fully registered Speech Therapist under the Allied Health Professional Council in Singapore. Since she graduated from La Trobe University in Australia in 2011, she has been working as a Speech Therapist, helping patients with dysphagia in acute hospital and community care. Beatrice is driven by a desire to innovate and create new possibilities in her industry, therefore she set up Amazing Speech Therapy to fulfil her dream. Since its founding in April 2016, Amazing Speech Therapy Pte Ltd has become one of Singapore’s leading private Speech Therapy company in the provision of swallowing and communication therapy. Beatrice leads her team of Speech Therapists to excel in the field of treatment of dysphagia, achieving success in even the most severe cases. She is also passionate about raising awareness and advocating for people living with dysphagia in Singapore. Beatrice has strong relationships with medical and allied health professionals in Singapore both in public and private sector and has been endorsed by many renowned specialists.