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    VitalStim® Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program

    Learning the Options, Mastering the Modality - An ICE Accredited Certificate Program

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    Add to Calendar 04/07/2022 08:00 AM 04/08/2022 04:00 PM America/New_York VitalStim® Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program Hotel: Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale Airport
    Phone: 954-922-0436
    Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale Airport CIAO Seminars, Inc mail@ciaoseminars.com false MM/DD/YYYY


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    Appropriate Disciplines


    • Speech Language Pathologist
    • Occupational Therapist

Course Description

This is an ADULT FOCUSED COURSE. Click HERE for Pediatric Focus.


Welcome to the UPDATED VitalStim Therapy course!
The VitalStim Certificate Program was introduced to the professional dysphagia community in 2003 as the competency course for the only FDA-cleared NMES device for dysphagia treatment. The program, then known as the VitalStim Certification Program, revolutionized dysphagia therapy! The popular course has gone through multiple revisions since its inception, incorporating the latest findings from the research and clinical communities. This new course update is the most significant to date. It is the result of several converging trends in the field of NMES for dysphagia treatment. The new content reflects significant growth of scientific research, an increase in available treatment protocols and an expansion of available equipment options.

Course Description
VitalStim Therapy and Beyond: DINES (Dynamic Integration of NMES and Exercise for Swallowing) This accredited hands-on competency course will focus on the muscle physiology, kinesiology, and pathology of the normal and abnormal swallowing mechanisms. The principles of NMES will be taught in tandem with active dysphagia exercise therapy. NMES for Dysphagia protocols, using FDA cleared devices, will be covered against the backdrop of neurophysiology of the swallowing mechanism and available research. Adjustments to NMES parameters - frequency, phase duration, duty cycle, and more - will be incorporated in specific treatment protocols and extensively practiced in hands-on lab sessions. Cases will be evaluated using the impairment model (pathology; symptoms; signs; dysfunctions; and impairments) and treatment planning will be practiced.

Participants will receive one-on-one attention from two experienced instructors, a dysphagia expert and an electrical stimulation expert. Instructors will deliver relevant information on FDA clearance and clinical options relevant to different equipment options available today to better equip clinicians in the ever-changing world of NMES for dysphagia.

Participants who successfully complete this course will leave as a skilled VitalStim Provider and DINES Provider with the confidence and building blocks needed to implement a successful NMES for dysphagia therapy program.

"I learned more about dysphagia in this course than I did in all of grad school!"

Conflict of Interest
None. This is the only NMES for Dysphagia training course not affiliated with the sale of any equipment or electrode. The content and administration of this course is wholly independent of any manufacturer.

Provider Benefits
  • A Specialty Certificate from the only acreditted NMES for Dysphagia course
  • VitalStim Provider designation
  • DINES Provider designation
  • Access to dedicated NMES Clinical Consultant
  • Access to the VitalStim/DINES Provider Facebook group - a private network of THOUSANDS of active Providers
  • Listing on the official VitalStim/DINES Registry
  • Access to the official VitalStim/DINES Provider Document Library
  • Access to continuing education specifically for VitalStim/DINES Providers
  • $50 discount voucher towards the NDC Examination application
This is an intermediate level course. Requirements for the course are as follows:
  • Successful completion of online anatomy and MBS review course (click link for more details) MBS Course Instructions
  • Prior knowledge and experience in dysphagia management
  • Dysphagia as a significant portion of active caseload
  • SLP or OTR with current licensure in state of practice
  • SLP or OTR in compliance with state and national practice acts
DINES Specialty recognition will be awarded to those who:
  • Online Course: pass written assignments. pass multiple choice quizzes with a minimum 80% accuracy
  • Live Course - pass written exam with 80% accuracy. Pass practical labs demonstrating safe and accurate application of NMES for dysphagia therapy as determined by both instructors.
NOTE: If these criteria are not met at the course, additional opportunities to successfully complete the process will be available.

Use of Certificate and Title
Participants who successfully complete this course will hold a Specialty Certificate in VitalStim/DINES Therapy and receive the title VitalStim/DINES Provider. This title may be used in signature lines. Certificate holders should not refer to themselves as being “certified” nor add acronyms to their name as a result of the Specialty Certificate. Providers who wish to receive the letters NDC (Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation for Dysphagia Certified) behind their name must pass the national exam. Dysphagia University

Rescinding the Certificate:
CIAO maintains the right to rescind or nullify the Specialty Certificate and VitalStim Provider status in the event the Provider has violated program requirements, policies, or professional board ethics related to the VitalStim Specialty Program.

CIAO offers the VitalStim Specialty course for two populations (adult and pediatric). Either course may be taken to become a VitalStim Provider. VitalStim Providers may treat either or both populations.

VitalStim Therapy and Beyond is now a Specialty Certificate Program!
This program is the only accredited NMES for Dysphagia program. After successful completion of this program, participants receive their Specialty Certificate as a specialist in the use of NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. On April 3, 2015, the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) granted accreditation to CIAO Seminars' VitalStim Therapy Specialty Program for demonstrating compliance with ICE 1100 - Standard for Assessment-Based Certificate Programs. ICE 1100 was first published in January 2009 to ensure that assessment-based certificate programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the credentialing industry. More information about ICE is available online at www.credentialingexcellence.org.

Renewal Options (Maintain your Specialty Certificate by completing a renewal course once every 3 years)

Live Renewal
Attend the live 2 day VitalStim course again (no online MBS required for renewal)
16 hrs. of continuing education credit will be awarded for successful completion of course.
Entire live course is required for this option.
Register above by selecting the date/city and clicking register.
Choose the price option labeled "Renewal (no online MBS course required)"

Online Renewal
8.5 hrs. of continuing education credit will be awarded for successful completion of course.
Activate course within 6 months of purchase
30 days to complete once activated

The VitalStim® Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program includes the online course, MBS: The Clear Picture (12hrs) and the two day hands-on "VitalStim® Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program" (16hrs) for a total of 28 hours of continuing education credit.

VitalStim is a registered trademark of VitalStim, LLC.
VitalStim Therapy and Beyond: DINES Specialty Certificate Program© CIAO Seminars

AOTA Classification Codes
Domain of OT: Client Factors, Context Environment
OT Process: Intervention
Vital Stim, VitalStim, Vital Stem, VitalStim Certification, Vitastim, NMES for Dysphagia, ESwallow, Guardian, Tim Carrigan

Course Objectives

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

  • Identify and describe the anatomical structures relevant to the swallowing function
  • Demonstrate accurate palpation of accessible structures in the head and neck region as relevant to the use of NMES
  • Describe relevant neurological and physiological aspects of normal and abnormal swallowing, including cranial nerve function and muscle fiber types
  • Describe the swallowing disorder based on the results of the evaluation in terms of impairments and dysfunctions
  • Formulate the theoretical rationale for using NMES in the treatment of dysphagia
  • Describe the characteristics of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and the influence of electricity on muscle tissue
  • Describe the parameters of pulsed waveforms – pulse duration, phase duration, frequency, duty cycle – commonly used in NMES in dysphagia therapy
  • Describe and demonstrate common problem-solving approaches used in a typical NMES treatment session, including preparing the skin, (re)positioning the electrodes, and adjusting NMES parameters
  • Describe the physiological impact of modifying the various pulsed waveform parameters on muscle fiber recruitment, fatigue, patient tolerance and exercise intensity
  • Identify the pathological conditions for which NMES is indicated
  • List precautions and contraindications to the use of NMES in the head and neck region
  • Describe the role of regulatory bodies in clearing NMES devices to market and its impact on clinical use of NMES by dysphagia clinicians
  • Describe the characteristics of typical NMES units and self-adhesive electrodes commonly used in dysphagia therapy
  • Describe, differentiate and demonstrate the execution of common NMES treatment protocols described in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Identify appropriate outcome variables to track and measure patient progress
  • Discuss and demonstrate correct electrode positioning based on patient presentation and anatomical location of target tissues to treat, including the use of one or more stimulation channels and applying electrodes in the facial, suprahyoid and infra
  • Discuss and demonstrate the use of swallowing exercise during and after the application of NMES

Denise Dougherty

MA, CCC-SLP

Denise Dougherty, MA, CCC-SLP
Denise owns and operates a private practice in Indiana, PA, where she conducts therapy with both children and adults. She is a legal consultant/expert witness in wrongful death/negligence lawsuits involving dysphagia. Denise is a co-editor of Private Practice Essentials: A Practical Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists, published by ASHA Press. She has presented workshops and written numerous articles appearing in the ASHA Leader on the topic of private practice. Denise served as a consultant for The Arijah Children’s Foundation in Anguilla, BWI, providing evaluations and therapy programs for special needs children. Ms. Dougherty was an adjunct faculty member at York College of Pennsylvania and Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. She is a past President of the American Academy of Private Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology (AAPPSPA), and received the Academy’s 2007 Honor Award and 2014 Award of Excellence for her achievements. Ms. Dougherty is a member of the Technical Experts Panel for Quality of Insights of Pennsylvania, working on initiating quality measures for CMS to improve effectiveness, efficiency, economy and quality of services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania; a master’s degree in communication disorders from St. Louis University. Ms. Dougherty is certified in VitalStim® therapy and is a VitalStim® instructor, has completed additional training in orofacial myology, is a member of the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association and has received numerous ASHA ACE Awards. For more information, please visit www.dldspeechpath.com.

Financial Disclosure Denise receives honoraria from CIAO for the presentation of her live courses and royalties for the sale of her online courses. Denise is in private practice and receives legal consultant/expert witness fees
Non-Financial Disclosure: There are no non-financial relationships to disclose.


Joe Gallo

DSc, ATC, PT

Dr. Joe Gallo earned his BS in Physical Education and Athletic Training and his Master’s in Physical Therapy. He also holds a Doctor of Science degree in Physical Therapy. He currently serves as Director and Professor in the Salem State University Athletic Training Program. He also held faculty appointments in various physical therapy and physical therapist assistant programs in his over 20 year career as an educator. Dr. Gallo is currently a Certified Instructor for the VitalStim® Therapy Specialty Program teaching NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. He has taught over 300 continuing education workshops to rehabilitation specialists across the United States. Joe’s research on electrophysical agents has been published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, and the Chinese journal of Sportsmedicine. In addition to his teaching and research, Joe has also maintained clinical practice in a variety of settings throughout his career.

Financial Disclosures: Dr. Gallo receives an honorarium for speaking/teaching live courses through CIAO Seminars. He also receives royalties for the purchase of his recorded courses and the purchase of his Ultrasound book.
Non-Financial Disclosures: Dr. Gallo uses modalities in his clinical practice.

Day 1

07:30 - 08:00
Registration (snack/refreshments provided)
08:00 - 08:15
Introduction, program overview, objectives
08:15 - 08:45
Physiology, anatomy, neurology review
08:45 - 10:00
Palpation of head and neck structures (lab)
10:00 - 10:15
Break
10:15 - 12:00
Exercise and Dysphagia
12:00 - 01:00
Lunch (on your own)
01:00 - 02:30
Electrical stimulation: theory & lab demonstration
02:30 - 02:45
Break
02:45 - 05:30
Electrical stimulation: theory & lab demonstration continued
05:30 - 06:30
Written Exam

Day 2

07:00 - 07:30
Sign-In (snack/refreshments provided)
07:30 - 08:00
Review of material day 1, Q&A
08:00 - 08:30
Exam review and scoring
08:30 - 10:00
NMES protocols (lab)
10:00 - 10:15
Break
10:15 - 11:30
NMES protocols (lab) continued
11:30 - 12:30
Lunch (on your own)
12:30 - 03:15
Integration: case studies, problem solving
03:15 - 03:30
Resource Network for Registered Providers
03:30 - 03:45
Q & A

Delivery VIA:

  • Live On Tour - This course is now being offered live on locations throughout the United States.
  • Live By Request - This course is available to come to you! Contact us to see how easy that can be.

Contact hours pre-approved for:

  • 16 Hours
  • CIAO is an Approved Provider for ASHA #AAWA (1.6 ASHA CEUs) bubble sheet submission is required
  • CIAO is an Approved Provider for AOTA #4119 (1.6 AOTA CEUs)
  • This course meets PDU requirements for NBCOT (20 PDUs Clinical Lab Assessment)
  • CIAO is authorized by IACET to offer 1.6 CEUs for this program
  • This course is approved by the CA Board of OT for Advanced Practice
  • - 11.25 hrs Physical Agent Modalities CABOT#25-P4
  • - 7.0 hrs Swallowing CABOT#25-S1
  • 16 hrs. OTs in FL (CE Broker #20-515988)


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



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



This course is offered for 1.6 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area)..



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.



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