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NFOSD Recipe Book

IDDSI Level 7


IDDSI Level 6

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Swallowing Against the Odds: My Journey with Dysphagia

By Danny Voyes

My name is Danny, and to say that I’ve had a long and complicated history with dysphagia is an understatement! This is my story:

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The Struggle to Swallow: Living with Unusual Dysphagia

By Mary Lin McNeill

As a child, I always knew that something was different about the way I ate. My mom would tell me stories of how, since birth, I would “chew” everything before swallowing, even liquids like milk. It was a habit that I couldn’t shake off. As I grew older, I had a hard time learning to swallow pills, and it wasn’t until I was 26 that I could finally do it. However, my dysphagia started worsening in 2020, and I found myself unable to swallow pills at all without choking or throwing them up immediately.

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NFOSD Michael Donovan Advocacy Award

Michael Donovan
Founding NFOSD Board Member
In Memoriam April 2018

Award Description:

This award is open to any individual impacted by or serving those with a swallowing disorder, including but not limited to: healthcare providers, persons with dysphagia, and their families. It is specifically targeted to swallowing disorder advocacy, activism, and volunteerism within a clinical or community setting.

Michael Donovan was an original founder of the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders and served as a board member from 2006 to 2018. He survived head and neck cancer for 23 years before passing away in April 2018. His love for and commitment to the Foundation brought family and friends together to provide hope and support to people worldwide living with a swallowing disorder. Michael’s optimism will always live on within the Foundation and this award is one way of honoring him for his never-ending engagement, volunteerism and advocacy for the swallowing disorder community. 


  • Applicant must submit the following through the Dysphagia Research Society webpage:
    • Application form
    • 1-page essay describing their swallowing disorder advocacy/volunteerism efforts and how these impact the community
    • Optional: Letter of support from another individual familiar with their efforts
      • Can be a family member, community member, colleague, etc.
  • Application can be submitted on behalf of another individual.
  • Applicant does *not* need to be a member of the DRS or NFOSD to apply for the award.
  • Applicant does *not* need to be present at the DRS Annual Meeting to receive the award.
  • Applicant does *not* need to be located in the United States.

Exclusionary Criteria

  • Currently serving on the Board of the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorder or the Dysphagia Research Society
  • Applicant has received the Michael Donovan Advocacy Award within the last 3 years

Monetary Value

$1,000 funded by the NFOSD + complimentary registration for the 2022 DRS Conference.

Application submission for 2022 Award by Friday, January 7, 2022.

Please email (not .com) if you have any questions.

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Managing Dysphagia in Adults with Intellectual Disability – Webinar Recording

Originally broadcast Wednesday, June 17, 5:00 pm Pacific

Webinar Description:  

Adults with intellectual disability are at risk for dysphagia.  The unique swallowing, feeding, and behavioral challenges experienced in this population are vital considerations in the assessment and treatment of these patients.  This webinar will discuss the nature of dysphagia management in adults with intellectual disability by exploring the current evidence in this area and discuss the clinical experiences of speech pathologists who assess and treat adults with intellectual disability in the Intermediate Care Setting.

At the completion of this webinar, participants will:

  • Understand the impacts of dysphagia in people with intellectual disability
  • Identify the systems that must be considered in the assessment and treatment of dysphagia in those with intellectual disability 
  • Anticipate the physical-nutritional needs of those with intellectual disability as they age
  • Describe the interdisciplinary team collaborations required to manage dysphagia in this population

Meet the Presenter

Melissa Farrow, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Melissa’s area of expertise is in the management of disordered swallowing in medically complex populations. Melissa earned her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Duquesne University in 2012 and since then, her passion for helping patients with swallowing problems has been the driving force of her career. Melissa is board certified as a Swallowing Specialist by the American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, holds certification as a Modified Barium Swallow Impairment Profile (MBSImp) clinician, and has earned four consecutive ACE awards from the ASHA for her exceptional commitment to continuing education in dysphagia.

Currently, Melissa works as a speech-language pathologist for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, where she serves as Chair of the Physical-Nutritional Management Team in caring for those with intellectual disabilities and complex medical conditions.  Melissa also conducts research in dysphagia management and oral care in those with intellectual disabilities and has been invited to present her work both regionally and nationally. She is also an active member of several organizations dedicated to advancing the art and science of swallowing and advocating for patients with swallowing disorders.

Cost: FREE. This webinar is free to all registrants. We recognize the financial hardship that is impacting many throughout the globe due to the pandemic. As a non-profit, we feel this too. The NFOSD wants to thank Bracco Diagnostics for their unrestricted education grant.

No ASHA CEUs are offered for this webinar.