Swallowing Training and Education Portal (STEP)
Swallow Assessment

Course Description:

The Swallowing Training and Education Portal (STEP) Swallow Assessment learning module will provide clinicians with information about the clinical evaluation of swallowing; both, at bedside and using instrumental exams. It will discuss ways to implement a set of validated clinical tools to probe different aspects of the swallowing mechanism including: airway defense physiologic capacity, lingual physiologic capacity, swallow safety and aspiration screening, patient self-report and quality of life. The course will also provide clinicians with resources related to best practices in videofluoroscopic swallow studies (VFSS), modified barium swallow studies (MBSS), videos of fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) and MBSS evaluations, MBSS interpretation training, and swallowing assessments in specialized populations such as head and neck cancer and stroke. 

Target Audience: Speech-Language Pathologists 

Course Objectives:

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

  • List and compare swallowing assessments based on their capacity to assess physiology, function, and or bolus flow characteristics

  • Identify when a swallowing physiological event is normal, functional, or disordered

  • Discuss the types of measures and judgements that can be made about swallowing physiology with Modified Barium Swallowing Studies

Detailed Course Agenda 

Swallowing Neuro Anatomy and Physiology Shorts – Animated Video Tutorials (20 minutes)

  • Normal Swallowing Events

Critical Thinking in Dysphagia Management Webinars (79 minutes)

  • Supporting clinical decisions with physiologically guided metrics 

Normal Swallow 101: Clinical Workshop Webinars (95 minutes)

  • Distinguishing normal, functional and disordered swallowing in instrumental evaluations 

Foundations Webinars (55 minutes)

  • Clinical Bedside Swallow Exam

  • Penetration-Aspiration Scale mini tutorial 

  • MBSS interpretation

Dysphagia Grand Rounds Article and Webinar (114 minutes)

  • Effects of VFSS Pulse Rate on Judgements of Swallowing Impairment and Treatment Decisions 

Down the Hatch Podcasts (151 minutes)

  • Everybody’s Doing It

  • Piecing Together the Clinical Swallowing Evaluation 

  • MBSS Interpretation 

Dysphagia Café Blog Posts (PDF Articles) (52 minutes)

  • Clinical Swallow Evaluation with a Focus on Stroke

  • Clinical Bedside Swallow Exam with Trach and Vent Patients 

  • MBSS and the Aging Swallow

  • Best Practices in VFSS

STEP Snippets: Mini-Tutorial Videos (29 minutes)

  • Premature Spillage vs Swallow Delay

  • VFSS of Swallow Maneuvers 

  • Cough Testing during CSE 

  • Why did she aspirate? 

  • SLP-induced Aspiration

  • What do you see in this Swallow?

  • Sensory Testing during CSE

  • Assessing Lingual Function during CSE

  • Assessing Laryngeal Movement during CSE

MBSS Interpretation Series Videos (203 minutes)

  • MBSS Interpretation Foundational Course 

  • MBSS Interpretation Podcast Discussion 

  • Learning all about Laryngeal Vestibule Closure 

  • Differentiating Swallow Onset Delay and Premature Spillage

  • Penetration-Aspiration Scale Visual Tutorial 

Total Time = 798 minutes 

Total ASHA CEUs: 1.3 

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.

Financial In-Kind Disclosure: ASHFoundation provided funding to create components of this course.

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 1.3 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area)