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    The Anatomical Study of Swallow Dynamics




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    Appropriate Disciplines

    • Occupational Therapist
    • Speech Language Pathologist

Course Description

The swallow is a complex neuromuscular event. A symphony of nerve impulses travel back and forth between the cortex, the brainstem and the muscles in order to prepare the bolus and then guide it safely down towards the esophagus. Clinicians who treat swallowing disorders will seek to engage this system for therapeutic purposes; facilitate a muscle group, inhibit another; and enhance the feedback to retrain certain movement patterns, etc. The skillful application of such therapeutic interventions requires a thorough understanding of the anatomy involved in the swallow movements. This course is designed to provide dysphagia professionals with the background necessary to participate in advanced courses that require detailed knowledge of swallowing anatomy. This information will build the therapist’s knowledge and skills for treatment of swallowing disorders and will provide the course participant with a stronger basis for a comprehensive examination of the dysphagic patient. The information provided in the course will also facilitate professional communication between the swallowing professional and other health care professionals involved in the treatment of dysphagia.

  • This course focuses on the ADULT swallowing anatomy.
  • For PEDIATRIC FOCUS (under 5 years of age) see MBS: The Clear Picture Pediatric.
  • This course may be taken as a stand-alone online course.
  • This course is also the pre-course to the VitalStim/DINES Specialty Certificate Program.
  • If you are registering for the VitalStim/DINES Specialty Certificate Program, this course is already included. (No need to register for this course separately.)

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 obtained by completing the online ASHA form and checking the "Report to ASHA" box.

Course Objectives

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

  • List and describe the key movements of the musculoskeletal swallowing system and their interaction.
  • Name and describe the anatomy of the swallowing system, including musculature, skeletal structures, and neurological tissues.
  • Describe and contrast the oral, pharyngeal and esophageal stages of the swallow from an anatomical perspective.
  • Appraise and categorize the topography of key swallowing anatomy in relation to surface anatomy landmarks and in relation to other structures at different depths.
  • Summarize key neurological innervation patterns pertaining to normal swallow function.

Jan Pryor

Jan Pryor, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S - Jan is a Speech Pathologist with over 30 years of clinical experience across the medical setting spectrum. She has traveled throughout the USA and Europe training speech pathologists and physicians in dysphagia evaluation and treatment. Jan earned her MA in Speech Pathology from the University of Northern Colorado in 1984 and completed her PhD at the University of Washington in 2022. She became a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing & Swallowing Disorders in 2009.

Financial Disclosure: Jan receives remuneration from CIAO seminars for the creation and maintenance of this course material.
Non-Financial Disclosure: no relevant relationships exist

Yorick Wijting


Yorick received his Physical Therapy degree in the Netherlands and his DPT at the University of St. Augustine, Florida. He has extensive training and practical experience in biophysical agents and teaches nationally and internationally to medical professionals on their therapeutic use. Yorick has been instrumental in developing the use of electrical stimulation by Speech Language Pathologists in the treatment of dysphagia. Yorick currently lives in California and runs his private practice in Gilroy, CA.

Financial Disclosure: Yorick receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of his live course(s) and royalties for the sale of his recorded course(s). Yorick is the author and an instructor for the VitalStim Therapy Specialty Program.
Non-Financial Disclosure: no relevant relationships exist

14 Minutes
106 Minutes
Lesson 1: Swallowing Movements
101 Minutes
Lesson 2: Oral Stage Anatomy
109 Minutes
Lesson 3: Pharyngeal Stage Anatomy
93 Minutes
Lesson 4: Esophageal Stage Anatomy
125 Minutes
Lesson 5: Anatomical Topography
37 Minutes
Lesson 6: Challenge Cases
4 Minutes
20 Minutes
Final Exam
10.2 Hours

Delivery VIA:

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

Contact hours pre-approved for:

  • 10 Hours
  • CIAO is an ASHA Approved Provider #AAWA (1.0 ASHA CEUs) bubble sheet submission required
  • ASHA CE Provider Approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products, or clinical procedures.
  • As an IACET Accredited Provider, CIAO offers CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard
  • CIAO is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this program
  • This course meets PDU requirements for NBCOT (1.0 PDUs)
  • CIAO is an Approved Provider for the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy
  • Approved for:
  • 1.2 Hrs. OT/COTAs in FL (CE Broker #20-1189492)
  • 1.0 Hrs. Registered with CEBroker for OT/COTAs in AL, AZ, GA, LA, MS, SC, TN

Course meets requirements for:

  • OT/COTAs in AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, HI, ID, IA, IN, KS, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT,
  • OT/COTAs in NE, NV, NH, NJ,, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WY

  • Introductory Level
    1.0 ASHA CEUs

    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)


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