Pediatric Dysphagia for the Medically Complex Infant, Toddler, Child

Course Number

This course is FREE for professional members of, pro memberships $189/year: Become a Member

Presenter:  Michelle Dawson, MS CCC-SLP
The ability to eat with peers in during snack time, or participate in family mealtimes may be the norm for the general population, however there is a subset of the pediatric population that does not have the ability to independently or safely engage in these activities of daily living due to the presence and severity of their oropharyngeal dysphagia.  This 6 hour course is designed to educate attendees on the intricate interplay of the pediatric Brain-Mouth-Gut connection and how errors in this system, (such as inter-uterine CVA, diminished mastication reflexes, and delayed GI motility), can result in oropharyngeal dysphagia. 

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:
  • Describe typical development and sequence of deglutition and digestion. 
  • Explain the typical development of at least 3 reflexes related to mastication and deglutition.
  • Name 4 common pediatric medical diagnoses and describe how each diagnosis in conjunction with medical management can contribute to oropharyngeal dysphagia.
  • Name 3 different “tubes” for feeding and describe their impact on the normal Brain-Mouth-Gut connection.
  • List 5 examples of therapeutic interventions to help re-establish the brain-mouth-gut connection and treatment of orophayrngeal dysphagia and how to implement.
About Michelle: Michelle L. W. Dawson, MS CCC-SLP has had the pleasure of residing in Columbia, SC since January 2012.  She completed her BS in Speech Language Pathology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 2005, and her MS in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University in 2009.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from both universities.  She started her career in 2006 as an SLPA in a rural public school with an average caseload of 56 students. 

Michelle is an accomplished lecturer and has written and given numerous ASHA approved CEU lectures on such topics as Infantile Spasm and Oropharyngeal Dysphagia, along with Apps and ST, and co-authored a course on Best Practices in EI.  She has also given an AOTA-approved lecture on Sensory Integration from the SLP perspective.  Michelle has delivered lectures at the SCSHA Convention and twice with the SCATP Expo. 
Additional Information

This course is offered for 0.6 ASHA CEUs (Introductory level, Professional area)

Course Timeline: 

60 minutes: Introduction - An overview of the typical development of the Brain-Mouth-Gut connection, with a foray into respiration.

60 minutes: Closer Look - In depth discussion of typical reflex development for nutritive suck, mastication, and progression of bolus viscosity.

75 minutes: Chart Review - A closer look at the diagnoses of a medically fragile caseload and how these diagnoses in conjunction with their most common treatments can result in oropharyngeal dysphagia.

90 minutes: Alternatives to PO - types, locations, implications for disruption to digestion process and nourishment
75 minutes: Intervention - Approaches to oropharyngeal dysphagia that focus on patient access to ADLs with special consideration for cultural factors and socioeconomic barriers.
60 minutes - Case Studies and Adjourn

Disclosure Statement: 
Financial: Michelle Dawson is a speaker for and receive royalty payments.
Non Financial: No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists 


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