3.4 Specialist Dysphagia Practitioner

Who needs Specialist Dysphagia Practitioner competence?

This is a specialist who determines the underlying cause of dysphagia and then devises comprehensive care plans. They may hold a specialist dysphagia caseload.


What do they do?

Specialist Dysphagia Practitioners assess the cause of dysphagia; they identify and trial interventions, and devise comprehensive care plans. They may refer for further investigations. They are involved in teaching, training and supporting others in dysphagia assessment and management.


What does the training involve?

Specialist Dysphagia Practitioners will have undertaken specialist training.  The Specialist Dysphagia Practitioner is directly linked to two Skills for Health competences.  These are:
  • DYS2 Undertake a comprehensive swallowing assessment, see here
  • DYS4 Develop a dysphagia care plan, see here


In the United Kingdom, a Specialist Dysphagia Practitioner may have attended a Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy (RCSLT) approved post graduate course.   For example, “The Assessment and Management of Adults with Dysphagia” run by The Sheffield Speech and Language Therapy Service is credited by Sheffield Hallam University at 30 master level credits.  


Further information

Refer to the Specialist Dysphagia Practitioner competences in to the Inter Professional Dysphagia Framework (Boaden et al 2006), see

For further information about approved RCSLT post graduate courses see here