Frequently Asked Questions about Rescinding ASHA's Position Statement on Cross-Training in Dysphagia

In March, 2006, ASHA's Legislative Council rescinded the position statement "Speech-Language Pathologists Training and Supervising Other Professionals in Delivery of Services to Individuals with Swallowing and Feeding Disorders." The following information addresses frequently asked questions about this issue.

Why was the position statement developed?

Speech-language pathologists expressed concerns that they were being required by their employers to train or supervise other professionals to provide dysphagia services. Their concerns included quality of care to patients, potential liability, and the impact on the profession. An ASHA-Special Interest Division 13 (Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)) Working Group developed a position statement and technical report that were passed in November, 2003 to help ASHA members advocate with their employers.

What did the position statement say?

In substance, the position statement stated, " It is the position of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association that speech-language pathologists (SLPs) should not train, via professional education courses or on-the-job training, or provide direct clinical supervision to individuals or groups of individuals from other professions in the delivery of evaluation and treatment for infants, children, and adults with swallowing and feeding disorders."

What was the impact on providers of continuing education programs?

To implement the position statement, ASHA's Continuing Education Board required providers of courses on swallowing and swallowing disorders (dysphagia) to sign that they had read and agreed to adhere to the position statement.

Why was the position statement rescinded?

In some situations the position statement was seen as an obstacle preventing multidisciplinary audiences from sharing in an exchange of information. Unintended consequences of the enforcement led to some providers offering courses that were not submitted for CEUs to avoid signing the statement.

What is ASHA's current stance on cross-training?

ASHA documents still support the same position opposing cross-training and asserting the role of speech-language pathologists as primary providers of dysphagia services. They include:

What is ASHA doing to clarify the impact of rescinding the document and providing support to ASHA members?

  • FAQs and supporting documents are available on ASHA's Web site.
  • The ASHA Leader published an article by Nancy Swigert in the May 23 rd issue.
  • Brian Shulman, ASHA vice president for professional practices in speech-language pathology, is appointing a coordinating committee on encroachment that will meet in 2006.
  • ASHA CE Providers should contact their ASHA CE Provider Manager for clarification or answers to questions related to this topic.
  • For more information about professional practice issues, contact Janet Brown (

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