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    Handout: Foundational Knowledge in Adult Dysphagia

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Course Description and Learning Outcomes

Dɪsfeʒə?  Dɪsfɑʒə? Təmeto, təmɑto?  That is one of the many questions tackled in this week’s episode with Dr. Lindsey Griffin, a leading professional in the field of adult dysphagia and assistant professor at Emerson College in Boston.  For those of you not practicing in the field of swallowing, this episode will certainly ring some grad school bells as Dr. Griffin walks us through some swallowing bascs that include a refresher on the phases of swallowing and some tried and true strategies to support individuals with swallowing challenges (You guys remember the good ol’ chin tuck, right?).  Working in this area of our field already?  You’ll enjoy some powerful discussions on evidence-based, person-centered decision-making in dysphagia practice amongst several remaining resource and research limitations.  

Listen in and learn about the difference between restorative exercises and compensatory strategies, the why and how of tailoring intervention techniques to an individual’s physiological impairments, and the role of technology in dysphagia care.  You will no doubt find yourself following along with the maneuvers discussed, just make sure to swallow your coffee first!

So, grab a plate of “minced and moist” snack foods and cozy up with Kate, Amy and Dr. Griffin for some nerdy swallow chat! You can learn more about Dr. Griffin  here.

Summary Written by Tanna Neufeld, MS, CCC-SLP, Contributing Editor

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the difference between restorative exercises and compensatory strategies 

  2. Relate three restorative treatment techniques to the targeted physiological impairment

  3. Identify two devices used in dysphagia rehabilitation

Course Presenters

Lindsay Griffin, PhD, CCC-SLP

Lindsay is a speech-language pathologist and Assistant Professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She holds a M.S. from Northeastern University and a Ph.D. from James Madison University. Her clinical and research interests include the neural mechanisms of normal and disordered swallowing in adults. She presents her research nationally and has worked across the continuum of care, including acute care, long-term acute care, skilled nursing, and outpatient rehabilitation.

SLP/BCBA; SLP Kate Grandbois (she/her) & Amy Wonkka (she/her

Kate and Amy are co-founders of SLP Nerdcast. Kate is a dually certified SLP / BCBA who works primarily as an "AAC Specialist." She owns a private practice with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, augmentative alternative communication intervention and assessment, and consultation. Amy is an SLP who also works as an "AAC Specialist" in a public school setting. Amy's primary interests are AAC, typical language development, motor speech, phonology, data collection, collaboration, coaching, and communication partner training and support.

Speaker Disclousres

Lindsay Griffin Financial Disclosures: Lindsay is an employee of Emerson College. Non-financial: Lindsay is a member of ASHA SIG 13 and the Dysphagia Research Society

Kate Grandbois financial disclosures: Kate is the owner / founder of Grandbois Therapy + Consulting, LLC and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast.  Kate Grandbois non-financial disclosures: Kate is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children. She is also a member of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), MassABA, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the corresponding Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis SIG. 

Amy Wonkka financial disclosures:  Amy is an employee of a public school system and co-founder for SLP Nerdcast.   Amy Wonkka non-financial disclosures: Amy is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children. 


Bhutada, Ankita M., et al. “Factors Influencing Initiation of Pharyngeal Swallow in Healthy Adults.” American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, vol. 29, no. 4, 2020, pp. 1956–1964., doi:10.1044/2020_ajslp-20-00027.

Humbert, Ianessa A., et al. “Swallowing Kinematic Differences Across Frozen, Mixed, and Ultrathin Liquid Boluses in Healthy Adults: Age, Sex, and Normal Variability.” Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, vol. 61, no. 7, 2018, pp. 1544–1559., doi:10.1044/2018_jslhr-s-17-0417.

Martin-Harris, Bonnie, et al. “MBS Measurement Tool for Swallow Impairment—MBSImp: Establishing a Standard.” Dysphagia, vol. 23, no. 4, 2008, pp. 392–405., doi:10.1007/s00455-008-9185-9.

Valenzano, Teresa J., et al. “Respiratory–Swallow Coordination in Healthy Adults During Drinking of Thin to Extremely Thick Liquids: A Research Note.” Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, vol. 63, no. 3, 2020, pp. 702–709., doi:10.1044/2019_jslhr-19-00163.

Online Resources:


EMST (Expiratory Muscle Strength Training):

IDSI (International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative): 

Time Ordered Agenda:

10 minutes: Introduction, Disclaimers and Disclosures

20 minutes:  Descriptions of the difference between restorative exercises and compensatory strategies  

15 minutes:  Descriptions of restorative treatment techniques to the targeted physiological impairment 

10 minutes:  Descriptions of devices used in dysphagia rehabilitation 

5 minutes: Summary and Closing


The contents of this episode are not meant to replace clinical advice.  SLP Nerdcast, its hosts and guests do not represent or endorse specific products or procedures mentioned during our episodes unless otherwise stated.  We are NOT PhDs, but we do research our material.  We do our best to provide a thorough review and fair representation of each topic that we tackle.  That being said, it is always likely that there is an article we’ve missed, or another perspective that isn’t shared.  If you have something to add to the conversation, please email us! Wed love to hear from you!

Editors: Tanna Neufeld, MS, CCC-SLP, Ashley Sturgis, MA, CCC-SLP