Self-Assessment of Pediatric Feeding Therapists in the State of Illinois Introduction: The care of infants and children with feeding and swallowing disorders requires specialized skills and strategies. Therapist certification is often available for hospital-based feeding, yet due to increasing demand, more non-certified, state-provided therapists are providing treatment. However, their skill set is uncertain and has yet to be explored. This ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2013
Self-Assessment of Pediatric Feeding Therapists in the State of Illinois
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mark Fishbein
    Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
  • Sarah Flock
    Cadence Health, Winfield, IL
  • Kathryn Benton
    Cadence Health, Winfield, IL
    Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL
  • Financial Disclosure: Mark Fishbein is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Sarah Flock is a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist at Cadence Health. Kathryn Benton is a Pediatric Psychologist at Cadence Health. She is also allied health/faculty at Lurie Children’s Hospital, and an Early Intervention Clinical Specialist for the State of Illinois.
    Financial Disclosure: Mark Fishbein is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Sarah Flock is a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist at Cadence Health. Kathryn Benton is a Pediatric Psychologist at Cadence Health. She is also allied health/faculty at Lurie Children’s Hospital, and an Early Intervention Clinical Specialist for the State of Illinois.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: Mark Fishbein has previously published in the subject area. Sarah Flock has no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article. Kathryn Benton has previously published in the subject area.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: Mark Fishbein has previously published in the subject area. Sarah Flock has no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article. Kathryn Benton has previously published in the subject area.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / Articles
Article   |   December 01, 2013
Self-Assessment of Pediatric Feeding Therapists in the State of Illinois
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), December 2013, Vol. 22, 129-141. doi:10.1044/sasd22.4.129
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), December 2013, Vol. 22, 129-141. doi:10.1044/sasd22.4.129

Introduction: The care of infants and children with feeding and swallowing disorders requires specialized skills and strategies. Therapist certification is often available for hospital-based feeding, yet due to increasing demand, more non-certified, state-provided therapists are providing treatment. However, their skill set is uncertain and has yet to be explored. This investigation provides insight into therapist skill level and self-perceived proficiency.

Methods: Feeding therapists throughout the state were surveyed for CEU, caseload, and work environment. Individual skill set and self-reliance with clinical vignettes were assessed a by Likert scale.

Results: Early Intervention: (0 to 3 years of age) outnumbered outpatient, school, and hospital-based therapists. Limited training and caseload were prevalent and associated with poorer clinical skills. Both early intervention and hospital-based therapists reported proficiency in managing infants with dysphagia, however hospital-based therapists were most self-reliant.

Conclusion: A certification process and associated clinical pathway is recommended for feeding therapists to provide standardized services throughout state.

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