Feeding, Eating & Swallowing
Occupational therapists provide interventions to clients of all ages with feeding, eating and swallowing difficulties. Occupational therapists provide comprehensive rehabilitative, habilitative, and palliative dysphagia care, which includes collaborating with clients to provide individualized compensatory swallowing strategies, modified diet textures, adapted mealtime environments, enhanced feeding skills, preparatory exercises and positioning to clients, reinforcement of mealtime strategies to enhance and improve swallowing skills, and training to caregivers to enhance eating and feeding performance. Occupational therapists provide screening and in-depth clinical assessment which may include instrumental dysphagia assessments including videofluroscopy. Source: The Guide to Occupational Therapy Practice, 2nd edition. Bethesda: American Occupational Therapy Association, 2007. [7/1/2008: new]
Additional Resources: The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) does offer voluntary specialty certification for a Feeding, Eating & Swallowing Occupational Therapist if the applicant meets the following requirements:
- Professional or technical degree or equivalent in occupational therapy.
- Certified or licensed by and in good standing with an AOTA recognized credentialing or regulatory body.
- Minimum of 2,000 hours of experience as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.
- 600 hours of experience delivering occupational therapy services in the certification area to clients (individuals, groups, or populations) in the last 3 calendar years. Service delivery may be paid or voluntary.
- Verification of employment.
AOTA Specialized Knowledge and Skills Paper: Feeding, Eating and Swallowing in Occupational Therapy Practice, 2007; AOTA Fact Sheets: OT: A Vital Role in Dysphagia Care