I was beyond excited that June is Dysphagia Awareness Month. I have been planning this post for weeks in my head and then life stepped in and said, “not today.” That “not today” lasted over a week.
To begin the summer, I ended up getting really sick. In fact, I was sick to the point the thought of food made me worse. Needless to say, to write about swallowing and food was not my top priority at that time!!
How are you celebrating dysphagia? To me, the best way to celebrate is to educate.
So many people have no idea what dysphagia is. It is imperative that we educate the public. You never know when that ONE person you talk to may need the information. When I check into a hotel for a continuing education event and they ask me why I’m staying, you’d better believe I tell them what I’m there for and then tell them a little about dysphagia. People ask all the time what I do for a living. Take that moment to tell them a little about dysphagia.
Request to speak at a local health fair. People are there for health information. Take advantage of educating the people regarding dysphagia, what is it, who it can affect, signs and symptoms. The presentation can be as little as five minutes. You can also provide information about dysphagia at the health fair. Some county fairs will have hospital booths providing information. Ask if you can provide information about dysphagia.
Ask to write a guest blog post or start your own blog. When I started blogging, there were basically no dysphagia blogs. There are plenty of speech blogs but the dysphagia blogs tend to be on the low side. You can use a blog to share information about therapy, review journal articles or just to educate the public.
Start a journal club. Let’s face it, we live in an evidence-based world. Embrace it. Learn as much as you can from the evidence to make educated decisions for your patients with dysphagia.
Take a good quality course this month. Ianessa Humbert has a new course coming in September. This promises to be a challenging course allowing SLPs to become better at critical thinking in dysphagia assessment and treatment. Northern Speech Services has great courses available. Courses are also on sale through June 14! SpeechPathology.com also offers a wide variety of courses. CIAO is another company offering some good, quality continuing education courses. What courses would you recommend for a GREAT quality learning experience?
Make the most of Dysphagia Awareness Month, not just in June, but all year long!