SPCHSCI 721 : Dysphagia


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Assessment and management of dysphagia (adult and paediatrics). Critical evaluation and synthesis of knowledge are presented in a substantial individual report.

Course Overview

Speech Science at The University of Auckland offers an e-learning course on dysphagia that meets NZSTA requirements for dysphagia training. This paper comprises a range of theoretical and practical topics in the field of developmental and acquired swallowing disorders. The blended-learning course will build on the knowledge you have of anatomy and physiology of swallowing; introducing the processes of assessment, differential diagnosis, and intervention procedures and treatment regimes. This course is designed as a professional entry-level qualification covering all aspects of swallowing and feeding.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: SPCHSCI 713 Restriction: SPCHSCI 701

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe normal swallowing to a patient or health professional (Capability 1 and 4)
  2. Interpret how a patient’s aetiology might impact on swallowing function (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Apply knowledge of swallowing physiology across the ages to identify when it’s not normal (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Synthesise the clients information and how it impacts on eating and drinking to make effective clinical decisions (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 6)
  5. Describe the roles and responsibilities of all the professionals in the dysphagia team (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6)
  6. Demonstrate skills in assessment, VFSS, clinical evaluation, oro-motor assessment, observation assessment, case history (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  7. Demonstrate principles of cultural competence and te Tiriti o Waitangi aspects of dysphagia assessment and management, including how this might impact on the life of the individual and their family/whānau. (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assessment of Dysphagia 10% Individual Coursework
OSCE - MBSImp 10% Individual Coursework
Management Case Study 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Critical Appraisal 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Assessment of Dysphagia
Management Case Study
Final Exam
Critical Appraisal

Key Topics

Clinical assessment
Biomechanics - normal swallowing, development and sensation
Instrumental assessment
Planning and ethics
Management and intervention

Special Requirements

The dates suggested in the separate course calendar are guidelines for progress through the online modules. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect self-directed learning via online course website, accessible through Canvas, reading and thinking about the content and work on assignments and exam preparation. There are 6 hours of tutorials, 3 days of interprofessional workshops alongside dietitians and ABA psychologists plus scheduled office hours. Office hours are an opportunity to meet with the course staff directly and are not compulsory.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Recommended text book: Groher, M. & Crary, M. (2016) Dysphagia: Clinical Management in adults and children. Mosby.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Previous students have told us they would like more paediatric tutorials and we have added them for 2021

Other Information

You are required to maintain a portfolio of clients you see with dysphagia throughout  your your clinical placements. Attendance and participation in the interprofessional workshops in the simulation centre count towards direct patient contact hours.
This is submitted in SPCHSCI744 as part of your e-portfolio and worth a percentage of the marks for that course. Details are on Canvas.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Canvas contains access to the dysphagia flexible learning website, where the majority of the self-directed course content exists.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Should New Zealand Government COVID-19 alert levels change the following plan is in place and has been approved by Faculty:
Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode. 
Level 2: All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. Practical tutorials / labs will occur on campus / in person with COVID-19 approved precautions.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 20/08/2021 10:36 a.m.