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    VitalStim Therapy Renewal Course Online



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    Appropriate Disciplines

    • Speech Language Pathologist
    • Occupational Therapist

Course Description


This course is designed to renew competency for VitalStim Therapy Providers. Participants will receive up-to-date key concepts in research, safety and protocols during the course. Participants who successfully complete this course will be equipped with the required knowledge and skills to maximize the impact of the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (VitalStim) in the treatment of dysphagia. This renewal course will review topics such as muscle physiology, kinesiology of the swallowing mechanism and pathological swallowing mechanisms and processes. The basic principles and concepts of neuromuscular electrical stimulation as used in VitalStim Therapy will be reviewed, as will the VitalStim Therapy protocol.

Disclosure: This course will only cover information that pertains to the effective and safe use of VitalStim. This online/video renewal course contains information as of Dec 2018. The updates in the 2019 VitalStim and DINES Specialty Certificate course are available live only (for now).
To renew at a live course Click Here for Adult Focus or Click Here for Pediatric Focus

  1. VitalStim Therapy Renewal Course participants must be VitalStim Providers.
  2. ANY VitalStim Provider can renew at ANY time, no matter when you became a Provider.
  3. Completion of this renewal course will award or renew the VitalStim Therapy Specialty Certificate and list the VitalStim Provider on the VitalStim Registry.
  4. The Specialty Certificate will be mailed to your home address. Please be sure to update your contact information, mailing address and facility information
  5. Renewal can also be completed by attending any live VitalStim and DINES Specialty Certificate course. (Adult or Peds)

Course Requirements:
  • Computer with internet and working speakers/sound are required for this course.
  • Course must be completed within 30 days of activation (activate course within 6 months of purchase).
  • An online multiple-choice quiz (80% passing score) and submission of an online evaluation form are required for successful completion.
  • A certificate of completion will be available to print immediately after course is successfully completed.
  • SLPs - ASHA CEUs may be requested by completing the online ASHA form and checking "YES" to the "Report to ASHA" question.
Vitalstim recertification vital stim
Click for VitalStim Therapy Specialty Certificate Program Press Release

AOTA Classification Codes
Domain of OT: Performance Skills
OT Process: Intervention

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Accurately name the anatomical structures (muscular, articular, neurological) relevant to the swallowing function
  • Correctly and accurately palpate the structures mentioned under objective 1 that are accessible to palpation
  • Briefly describe the various phases of the normal swallowing movement
  • List the main pathological conditions affecting swallow function in the adult population (etiology, pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, severity of impact on swallowing, prognosis, social and economic impact)
  • Describe considerations in the use of VitalStim Therapy in the pediatric population
  • Describe the characteristics of electrical stimulation and the influence of electricity on muscle tissue (physiological versus evoked contraction, frequency of current, intensity, phase duration, treatment time, strength and endurance building, etc.)
  • Identify the pathological conditions for which electrical stimulation is indicated
  • Describe the characteristics of the VitalStim Therapy stimulation unit
  • Discuss the VitalStim protocol in the treatment of dysphagia (operation of the electrical stimulation unit, skin preparation, application of the electrodes, increasing intensity)
  • Discuss the use of swallowing exercise during and after the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation
  • Briefly describe the principles of evidence based medicine and their application to the use of NMES in the treatment of dysphagia
  • Discuss ethical considerations around the use of NMES in the treatment of dysphagia
  • Discuss and demonstrate correct use of documentation and assessment tools (evaluation form, FOIS, outcome tracking sheet)

Penny Head


Penny Head is an ABPTS Board Certified Specialist in sports physical therapy and an NATABOC Certified Athletic Trainer. With over 17 years’ experience Penny is currently the Clinical Director of Sports Medicine at Baptist Rehab Hospital in Tennessee. She has also worked as a Sports Medicine Coordinator and Director of Physical Therapy in a clinical setting. Penny is currently a guest lecturer and lab instructor at the University of Tennessee, her alma mater. Penny is also currently a Certified Instructor for the VitalStim® Certification Course teaching NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. She has served as Certified Athletic Trainer, Team Physical Therapist and Rehab Consultant to several athletic programs including the Memphis Redbirds. Penny is a member of APTA, Tennessee PT Association, and Tennessee Athletic Trainers Association.

Financial Disclosure: Penny receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of this course. She also receives royalties for the purchase of her recorded course(s)
Non-Financial Disclosure: No relevant relationships

Charissa Moore


Charissa has 10 years experience with dysphagia, MBSS and FEES. Charissa is currently a PhD. Candidate at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. In addition, she travels across the US providing continue education instruction for SLP’s seeking certification for Vitalstim therapy. Charissa has helped implement several Vitalstim programs for pediatrics and adults in North Carolina and acts as a Clinical Specialist for those with VS certification throughout the US. Further experience includes Assistant Director of Rehabilitation Services, Speech-Language Pathology Manager, Acute program manager, and Inpatient rehabilitation manager at FirstHealth of the Carolinas in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Financial Disclosure: Charlssa receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of her live courses. She also receives royalties for the purchase of her recorded course(s)
Non-Financial Disclosure: Charissa uses VitalStim Therapy in her practice.

Mary Nylin


Mary is the former Senior Clinical Specialist in the VitalStim Division for Chattanooga Group supporting and educating physician groups, administrators and SLPs on Dysphagia management and the implementation of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation in Dysphagia therapy. This role also included active work with research, education, and new product development. Mary is one of a select few Certified VitalStim Instructors. She has taught over 300 courses in dysphagia and MBS interpretation. She previously worked at Baptist Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation in the Inpatient, Outpatient and Pediatric departments. Mary was instrumental in developing the Dysphagia program in the outpatient department and the speech department of the Pediatric Rehab. She serves as a knowledgeable resource in Dysphagia to therapists around the country.

Financial Disclosure: Mary receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of her live courses and royalties for the purchase of her recorded courses.
Non-Financial Disclosure: Mary uses VitalStim Therapy in her clinical practice.

Tom Holland


Dr. Tom Holland received his physical therapy education and his PhD degree from the Physical Therapy Program of NYU. He is an Assistant Professor at the City University of New York - Hunter College/Program in Physical Therapy. In addition, he is an Adjunct Instructor at New York University, Columbia University, and Dominican College. His practice includes per diem work at Kessler Institute (Saddle Brook NJ). Tom's physical therapist practice and specialty areas include physical modalities and kinesiology. Tom has been a Certified VitalStim Instructor since 2002 and has co-taught dozens of VitalStim Certification Courses across the country.

Financial Disclosure: Tom receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of this course. He also receives royalties for the purchase of his recorded course(s)
Non-Financial Disclosure: no relevant relationships

Jen Carter


Jen is a medically-based speech pathologist with 24 years of experience evaluating and treating dysphagia and is a board certified specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders. She currently lives in Denver and has a private practice, the Carter Swallowing Center, solely focused on dysphagia. She frequently presents at the local, state, and national level on the topic of swallowing treatment. When she’s not working, Jen enjoys hiking and backpacking in Colorado.

Financial Disclosure: Jen receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of her live courses and royalties for the purchase of her recorded course(s).
Non-Financial Disclosure: Jen uses VitalStim Therapy in her practice.

Jon Rose


Jon received his Master of Science from Eastern Illinois University in 1992 and his Certificate of Physical Therapy from Ohio State in 1997. Jon currently holds an academic appointment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. He teaches courses in anatomy, pathology, orthopedics, and sports medicine. He continues to treat patients and conduct research at Campbell Clinic. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational research at the University of Memphis. Formerly the director of rehabilitation for Samaritan Regional Health System in Ashland, Ohio, Jon has also worked as the Director of Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Coordinator for Campbell Clinic in Memphis, TN. Jon is currently a Certified Instructor for the VitalStim® Certification Course teaching NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. Jon’s professional appointments include Team Physical Therapist and Rehab Consultant for several semi-professional and professional sports teams. He is an NATABOC certified Athletic Trainer and a member of the APTA, Ohio PT Association, and Tennessee Athletic Trainers Association.

Financial Disclosure: Jon receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of this course. He also receives royalties for the purchase of his recorded course(s).
Non-financial Disclosure: There are no financial relationships to disclose.

Julie DeVahl


Julie DeVahl, PT, DPT, OCS, is an Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education in the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. A physical therapist since 1979, Julie brings her experience with electrical stimulation in clinical practice to the classroom. She has been an instructor for CIAO since 2003 and has adds an inviting style of teaching to the VitalStim Therapy Specialty Program. Julie is board-certified in orthopaedic physical therapy and practices in an outpatient clinic at UT Southwestern. She is an active member of the APTA and TPTA. “I see my role as an instructor to enable the SLPs and OTs to feel as comfortable using electrical stimulation as they do giving verbal instructions for swallowing.”

Financial Disclosure: Julie receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of this course. She also receives royalties for the purchase of her recorded course(s)
Non-Financial Disclosure: No relevant disclosures.

Carole R. Roth


Dr. Carole Roth holds a doctorate degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Colorado. She completed postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic in the Departments of Neurology and Otolaryngology. She has extensive clinical experience in diagnosing and treating neurologic communication disorders as well as voice, swallowing and fluency disorders. Dr. Roth has authored journal articles in the field and has lectured in the United States, Australia, and Europe. She has directed medical speech pathology programs and has participated on interdisciplinary clinics including: stroke, ALS, neuromuscular disorders and Huntington’s disease. She has sat on medical ethics committees and worked for the University of California, San Diego research ethics program. Dr. Roth holds board certification by the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences. She teaches part-time at San Diego State University and works as a full-time clinician in a medical center and in private practice. Dr. Roth is married and has two daughters.

Financial Disclosure: Dr. Roth receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of this course. She also receives royalties for the purchase of her recorded course(s)
Non-Financial Disclosure: Dr. Roth uses VitalStim Therapy in her practice.

Jodie Dacy


Jodie graduated from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL with a Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders. She has been a practicing speech language pathologist since 1995 with extensive experience in the private sector, school settings and clinical experience in hospital settings which include long term care and outpatient rehab. Jodie became a VitalStim® Provider in 2005. Since then she has utilized this modality in the treatment of dysphagia with both her pediatric and adult patients. Jodie is also a licensed NOMAS® practitioner and certified in NDC (NMES for Dysphagia), MDTP (McNeil Dysphagia Therapy Program) and Myofascial Release. She has presented locally and nationally on various topics such as Best Practices, The Benefits of Oral Motor/Feeding Therapy on Articulation/Speech Clarity amongst others. Currently, Jodie serves the Speech Language Pathology profession as a therapist at Val Verde Regional Hospital in TX and as a certified instructor of the VitalStim® Therapy and DINES Specialty Certificate Program for CIAO Seminars.

Financial Disclosure: Jodie receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of this course. She also receives royalties for the purchase of her recorded course(s)
Non-Financial Disclosure: Jodie uses VitalStim Therapy in her practice.

100 Minutes
Lesson 1 - Foundations
20 Minutes
65 Minutes
Lesson 2 - Electrotherapy
20 Minutes
80 Minutes
Lesson 3 - VitalStim Application
20 Minutes
40 Minutes
Lesson 4 - Other Considerations
20 Minutes
65 Minutes
Lesson 5 - Pediatrics
20 Minutes
7.5 Hours

Delivery VIA:

  • Online - This course is offered in an online, on demand format.

Contact hours pre-approved for:

  • 7.5 Hours
  • CIAO is an ASHA Approved Provider #AAWA (0.75 ASHA CEUs) bubble sheet required
  • CIAO is an AOTA Approved Provider #4119 (0.75 AOTA CEUs)
  • This course meets PDU requirements for NBCOT (7.5 PDUs)
  • As an IACET Authorized Provider, CIAO offers CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard
  • CIAO is authorized by IACET to offer .75 CEUs for this program
  • Approved for:
  • 5.0 Hours OTs in CA - Advanced Practice Swallowing #25-S20
  • 2.5 Hours OTs in CA - Advanced Practice PAMS #25-P10

CIAO is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). CIAO complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognized internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices. As a result of this accreditation, CIAO is accredited to issue the IACET CEU.

CIAO is recognized on the NBCOT Provider Registry (meets PDU requirements for NBCOT)

This course is offered for 0.75 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area) ASHA Bubble Sheet Required

The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.


"Great presentation. I plan to keep registering to learn new placements an research to better serve my patients, Keep up the good work!"

- Tacoma, WA / Jul 2019

"I feel like I have seen better anatomical diagrams of the swallowing musculature. The images are almost too zoomed in/close. It is difficult to tell what you are looking at sometimes."

- Overland Park, KS / Jul 2019

"I thought the ease of taking the course online was very nice"

- Cleveland, TN / Jun 2019

"This is a great refresher course! The fact that you can print out slides to use for reference is excellent!"

- Dallas, TX / Jun 2019

"The review course was geared to a level that was challenging but manageable. "

- Hunlock Creek, PA / May 2019

"This was a good review and update to strengthen my skills. Thank you. "

- Macon, GA / May 2019

"This was an excellent re-certification course. I also appreciate having access to the updated manual from 2015, this course material and additional research articles to review for evidence based practice and for discussion with other SLP's who may not be as familiar with the information and who may be considering adding Vital Stim as another modality to swallowing treatment."

- Clay Center, KS / Apr 2019

"Fantastic course! It was easy to navigate, full of fantastic information and references."

- Cherry Valley, IL / Mar 2019

"very thorough. As ever: enjoyable!"

- Houston, TX / Feb 2019

"I found the overall layout of what to expect for each course somewhat confusing but overall, I could figure it out! I appreciate the final section on pediatrics although I don't work in this area. I do believe that this should be provided in more detail and shown competency before a therapist completes with a child. Ok to include but really should be completely separate from Adults. Thanks!"

- Lovettsville, VA / Jan 2019

"Love this course! Great refresher ! Thank you Ciao! "

- Knoxville, TN / Dec 2018

"ciao is wonderful to work with and provide a quality education experience"

- Denver, CO / Nov 2018

"Thank you for providing this course on-line. Although I love attending conferences, the on-line experience is very convenient."

- Conyngham, PA / Oct 2018

"The renewal process made me realize how important staying current with the process and updated changes can really impact my patient care."

- Jacksonville, FL / Oct 2018

"Appreciate the presentation of information including video of the speakers in addition to corresponding slides. I wish all online continuing education was presented in such a manner. All the speakers were very knowledgeable and compassionate about the information they presented, making it easier on the listener to learn and retain knowledge from this course."

- Salina, KS / Sep 2018

"I love these modules and presenters. Always a great refresher to keep skills sharp. Thank you! "

- McKinney, TX / Aug 2018

"There had been over a 3 year period between my initial certification and this recertification process. I really enjoyed this recertification course which touched on all key topics and incorporated the most current information on VitalStim. Now I feel better able and competent to critically think, evaluate, and treat patients who have dysphagia and may benefit from VitalStim."

- Dawsonville , GA / Jan 2017

"Great course to freshen up on my previous certification. Feel more confident in my abilities to utilize NMES as a modality in my therapy.Very comprehensive without being redundant. Great price for so many CEUs."

- Baton Rouge, LA / Dec 2016

"I am thankful to have this refresher course to enhance my knowledge and skills in my career. The pediatric section makes me want to pursue this population after I attend other courses about the pediatric swallow. The clinicians are outstanding in their presentations."

- Westfield, IN / Dec 2016

"Excellent presentation of material. Would highly recommend to other therapists. "

- Bridgeport, AL / Oct 2016

"This course was thoroughly enjoyable! "

- Rosharon, TX / Sep 2016

"Thank you for providing an online renewal course, this was so convenient and helpful! I truly believe it helped refresh my skills!"

- VALRICO, FL / Aug 2016

"Amazing recertification course, so thorough and well presented, just wonderful to know how many great SLPs, OTs and PTs are out there, phenomenal collaboration went into this course. Thank you!"

- Springboro, OH / Aug 2016

"Excellent refresher course. I feel more confident as a Vital Stim provider."

- South Portland, ME / Apr 2016

"Course work was well organized and clear. This enhanced my training and was a way to review all information and changes for continuing my certification. It was very helpful having the coursework available online to complete around my schedule. Thank you Karol"

- Glenvil, NE / Feb 2016

"Loved the review! The pediatric section was a nice addition."

- Indianapolis, IN / Nov 2015

"This was an excellent course! I learned a lot."

- Naples, FL / Jul 2015

"this on line CEU actually taught me a lot of things, and made me think about applying that knowledge to my practice"

- Casselberry, FL / Jul 2015

"It was beneficial to take this course as I had been using vital stim and was able to understand clinically how to best use the device as before I did not have a knowledge base of the device. "

- Collierville, TN / Jul 2015

"Good review of Vital stim, I was certified 8 years ago, and found the review helpful."

- Chicago, IL / Jun 2015

"This was a wonderfully organized and informative course!"

- Columbia, MO / Jun 2015