Swallowing Training and Education Portal (STEP)
Normal Swallowing

Course Description:

The Swallowing Training and Education Portal (STEP) Normal Swallowing learning module will provide clinicians with a thorough understanding of normal swallowing anatomy, physiology and function. It will identify barriers to clinicians' current understanding of normal swallowing physiology and discuss factors leading to misdiagnoses, over referrals and inappropriate treatment targets. It will also review normal swallowing VFSS and FEES videos and discuss research related to the differences seen in normal swallow function across different adults. 

Financial Support Disclosure: ASHFoundation provided funding to create components of this course.

Target Audience: Speech-Language Pathologists

Course Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course, the learner will be able to: 

  • Describe the anatomy of the muscles and structures of the oropharynx 

  • Identify the physiology of the muscles and structures of the oropharynx

  • List at least two potential barriers to the understanding of normal swallow function 

  • Discuss insufficiencies in traditional SLP training in normal swallowing physiology 

  • Explain the normal variability in oropharyngeal swallowing in adults 

Detailed Course Agenda 

Swallowing Neuro Anatomy and Physiology Shorts – Animated Video Tutorials (96 minutes)

  • Hyolarynx

  • Tongue

  • Palate

  • Pharynx

  • Larynx

  • Nerves

  • Upper Esophageal Sphincter

  • Normal Swallowing Events

Critical Thinking in Dysphagia Management Courses (223 minutes)

  • Barriers to learning about normal swallowing

  • Detailed videofluoroscopic discussion and analysis of the range of normal swallowing

Normal Swallow 101: Clinical Workshop Courses (212 minutes)

  • The Missing A&P Course: Differentiating between normal, functional and disordered swallowing 

  • Oral sensory-motor integration for planning the movements of a swallow

  • The best thing about swallowing is the part we will never see 

Foundations Webinars (20 minutes)

  • Presbyphagia: The Aging Swallow

Dysphagia Grand Rounds Webinars (202 minutes)

  • Oropharyngeal Swallow in Younger and Older Women: A Videofluoroscopic analysis

  • Oral Perception of Liquid Volume Changes with Age

Down the Hatch Podcasts (51 minutes)

  • What is Normal? 

Dysphagia Café Articles (28 minutes)

  • Normal Newborn Development

  • Swallowing Difference v/s Disorder: Power of Perspective 

STEP Snippets: Mini-Tutorials (10 minutes)

  • Vallecular Aggregation

  • Swallowing with Tongue Markers

  • Sequential Water Swallows 

  • Normal People Aspiration

  • Variations of Normal

  • Central Control of Swallowing

  • All About Epiglottic Inversion

  • Role of the Aryepiglottic Folds 

Total Time = 842 minutes 

Total ASHA CEUs: 1.4  

Completion  Requirements

  • The entirety of this module must be completed in order to earn ASHA CEUs

  • A multiple choice, true/false learning assessment (at least 80% accuracy)

  • Fill out course evaluation 

Registration Information 

This course is available as a learning module of STEP, a subscription-based education and training library for swallowing and swallowing disorders. 

STEP (Swallowing Training Education Portal) membership provides you with unlimited access to evidence-based courses and resources created by dysphagia experts; from normal to disordered swallowing across the lifespan. At $15/month, STEP provides you with the swallowing education and resources you need to succeed at any stage of your career; from basics to the most advanced. To register, please visit

  • Fees paid for online courses grant participants monthly access to courses available. 

  • Members can cancel their subscription anytime. Follow these steps to end your active subscriptions. Sign in to your account and select My Account (top right corner). Select the Billing tab. To end recurring payments, from My Account > Billing, hit Cancel to end your current subscription. 

  • Special Needs: Indicate any special assistance required when you register.

  • Complaints and/or feedback for improvement can be emailed to 

  • Beginning date of offering: July 1, 2020 

About the Instructors 

Ianessa Humbert, Ph.D.CCC-SLP is an accomplished scientist, professor, and highly sought-after speaker with expertise in swallowing and swallowing disorders. Dr. Humbert’s innovative training style has been funded by ASHFoundation and extends to non-traditional learning formats. She is the co-creator of the popular Down the Hatch podcast, has co-founded online learning tools including STEP (Swallowing Training and Education Portal) and has developed high-quality, no-cost learning tools available on her YouTube Channel. Dr. Humbert has demonstrated her gift for creating images that depict the dynamism of swallowing via her Swallowing Pocket Guide and Swallowing Neuro Anatomy and Physiology Shorts or SNAPS (on STEP). Dr. Humbert has been on faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Florida, and the University of Iowa. The content from Dr. Humbert’s courses are supported by scientific evidence from her laboratory and from the larger body of research literature.

Instructor Disclosures: 

Financial: Ianessa Humbert is a co-owner of Swallowology LLC and Elemint LLC. 

Non-Financial: Ianessa Humbert is the co-creator of Down the Hatch and Hope is in the Science.

Rinki Varindani Desai M.S.,CCC-SLP, CBIS, CDP is an ASHA-certified medical speech-language pathologist, certified brain injury specialist and certified dementia practitioner; specializing in the assessment and treatment of cognitive-linguistic and swallowing disorders in adults. Rinki is the co-founder of the Swallowing Training and Education Portal, founder of the Medical SLP Forum and co-creator of the Dysphagia Therapy mobile app. She currently serves as Associate Coordinator of ASHA’s Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders Special Interest Group (SIG 13) and as Co-Chair of the Dysphagia Research Society's COVID-19 Task Force. She is also a part of ASHA’s Alternative Payment Models Committee, DRS’ 2021 Annual Conference Committee, the MSHA Healthcare Committee and on the Board of Directors for Burgundy and White, a non-profit for the head neck cancer community. Originally an SLP from Mumbai, India; Rinki has practiced for nearly a decade in acute, sub-acute and long-term care medical settings. She is currently the adult outpatient lead of the Voice and Swallowing Center and a clinical instructor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. 

Instructor Disclosures: 

Financial: Rinki Varindani Desai receives a royalty for her contributions to the STEP website. Non-Financial: Rinki volunteers with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA SIG 13) and Dysphagia Research Society. Rinki is the founder of the Medical SLP Forum and the co-creator of the Dysphagia Therapy mobile app.

This course is offered for 1.4 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area)