Elephant in the Room Training & Consultancy

Servicing country, rural and remote towns in NSW.

Swallowing! What’s the big deal?

What’s the big deal?

6th of September 2019

Speech Pathology Australia recommends that: 

1.Clients should be screened for feeding/swallowing safety before being given food, drink or oral medications. Swallow screening should only be undertaken by individuals who have been trained, and using a validated tool. 

2. Clients who fail a swallow screen should be referred to a speech pathologist for a clinical assessment +/- oral/feeding trial. The speech pathologist will determine whether an instrumental assessment is indicated to support appropriate management.

The hard facts

In accordance with Speech Pathology Australia’s Dysphagia Position Paper, 2012;

  • Up to 60% of people with an acquired brain injury will experience swallowing difficulties.
  • Up to 60% of infants or children with a developmental disability will have a swallowing or mealtime disorder.
  • Swallowing disorders can be caused by developmental, congenital, functional or acquired disorders.

NDIS & Mealtime Management

The Commonwealth Government recently decided, as an interim measure, the NDIS will fund the ongoing development, assessment and monitoring of meal plans for NDIS participants with dysphagia who aren’t in a hospital or acute care setting.

When you meet with your NDIS planner you can ask for help with eating and drinking by; 

  • Asking for a swallowing assessment to be completed by a TRAINED speech pathologist.
  • Requesting for a review of their mealtime plan



  1. Assess people who are having trouble with eating and drinking.
  2. Complete a mealtime management plan for the person 
  3. Train services and families in mealtime management and safety.
  4. Review mealtime plans on a regular basis as required.
  5. Offer recommendations to maintain health & wellbeing or help with developing new mealtime skills.

For further information or to make a referral please contact:

Caroline Arndell on 0499 383 882 or email at admin@elephantintheroom.net.au