Most school-based SLPs have had coursework and practicum as part of their graduate program. This gives them the foundation to build on those skills and ultimately establish competency in swallowing and feeding in the school setting. Here are some things that can be done to supplement basic graduate school skills!
- Seek out local professional development courses on pediatric swallowing and feeding. The more sessions you attend; the more informed you will be.
- Attend ASHA conventions or State Speech and Hearing conventions where there is a variety of swallowing and feeding information. Even if a session is geared primarily toward the elderly, you will better understand the disorder and will be able to transfer some of the information to students with neurological disorders, for example. Remember that in the schools we work with students from 3 to 22 years old!
- Those in a district who have more experience with dysphagia can mentor others.
- District SLPs can form study groups to research and share information on swallowing and feeding.
- Contact local universities and hospital SLPs to present to district SLPs.
Swallowing and feeding cases will be a very small percentage of the school-based SLP’s caseload. With each swallowing student on your caseload, become an expert on that child and on his/her particular swallowing and feeding issues!