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Special Topic Course: Oral Feedings on Respiratory Devices: Picking Apart the Controversy

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Speakers: Louisa Ferrara, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CNT

Topic: Oral Feedings on Respiratory Devices: Picking Apart the Controversy.

Course Description: This course aims to educate the audience about the finely coordinated, rhythmical and reciprocal interrelationship between the swallowing and breathing processes. Videos and pictures will emphasize how these two processes are physiologically and biomechanically reciprocal events, due to shared anatomic structures, muscular components, sensory receptors and brainstem control. This lecture will discuss how respiratory illness can negatively affect swallowing function from a physiological standpoint, but also how respiratory illness can affect a general mealtime from a synactive theory approach. A brief overview of various respiratory devices will be provided to increase the audience’s understanding of how their use may create a challenge for neonatal professionals who must juggle medical with developmental outcomes. Evidence-based recommendations will be offered, along with interprofessional strategies to elicit change within a NICU.

Speaker Bio: Louisa Ferrara, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CNT, is a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist with over 10 years of clinical experience working with neonates, medically-fragile infants and children with a myriad of complex medical/developmental needs. Dr. Louisa has worked in numerous pediatric settings, most recently as a Neonatal/Pediatric Specialist in Feeding and Swallowing Disorders at NYU-Winthrop Hospital, in New York. Dr. Louisa developed the NICU Feeding Program in this Level III NICU, and continues to serve as a valuable team member. Dr. Louisa is an assistant professor at Molloy College. Dr. Louisa completed her Doctorate degree in Speech and Language Pathology in May 2018 from Adelphi University. She received her Board Certification in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders in 2014 through ASHA. She has earned specification as a Certified Neonatal Therapist in 2018, through the NTNCB. She is also a member of NANT. Dr. Louisa’s published research has focused on the swallowing mechanism in neonates under various conditions (respiratory devices, liquid modifications, feeding strategies, etc.), as well as the use of VFSS and FEES as diagnostic tools. Dr. Louisa has published in high-standing, peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Louisa lectures nationally, on various topics related to feeding readiness in preterm infants, dysphagia management, swallowing-respiratory coordination and early feeding milestone acquisition.

0-5 min: Introduction to preterm feeding practices
5-15 min: Discuss anatomy and physiology of swallowing and breathing mechanism
15-30 min: Discuss respiratory disease, respiratory devices and current research
30-38 min: Discuss intervention strategies and future feeding practices
38-40 min: Learning Assessment

Louisa Ferrara, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CNT
Financial Disclosures: No relevant disclosures.
Nonfinancial disclosures: No relevant disclosures.

Conflict of Interest: There is no conflict of interest for anyone with the ability to control content for this activity.

Target Audience: OT, SLP, PT, RN, MD and Neonatal professionals

Level: Intermediate


  1. Describe the anatomy and physiology of both the swallowing and breathing mechanisms to gain improved understanding of the precise, interconnection between these two acts.
  2. Discuss prevalence of neonatal respiratory disease and how respiratory illness affects mealtime success.
  3. Report on recent research findings related to neonatal swallowing safety while on respiratory devices.

Instructional Method: Recorded webinar, lecture, animations, videos, pictures, schematics and handouts. Learning assessment and course evaluation follow course.

Course Completion Requirements: The learner must view the entire webinar, complete the course evaluation and complete the post webinar learning assessment with at least 80% to receive education credit. Login and logout times will be recorded and documented.
Following completion of this course physical therapists, nurses and other disciplines will receive a certificate of completion and a zip file containing information necessary to submit to their individual state for education credit. Zip file will include course bibliography. Physical therapists are responsible for knowing and adhering to their state’s deadlines, rules and regulations.

Registration information:

In order to obtain access to the course, click the “Register now” button at the bottom of the screen. You are required to be a NANT member in good standing to have access to this course. You may also purchase this courses as a non-member by clicking the “Buy Now” button at the bottom of the screen.

For ADA accommodations, please call NANT Customer Service for more information at (866) 999-5524.

Cancellation Policy: Click HERE to review NANT’s Course Cancellation Policy.

Continuing Education Information

AOTA CEUs: National Association of Neonatal Therapists® (NANT) is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. This Distance-Learning Independent Course is offered at 0.05 CEUs (Intermediate level, Occupational Therapy Service Delivery). AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.

ASHA CEUs: Learners must complete the entire course in order to receive ASHA CEUs. No partial credit awarded. ASHA CE Provider approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures.
ASHA CE Registry users: NANT will submit your ASHA CEU credit to ASHA on your behalf. ASHA CEUs may take up to 100 days to appear on your ASHA Transcript.

Non-ASHA CE Registry users: Maintain your course records and please keep your registry status current in your NANT account. Update your NANT account with your ASHA number if your registry status changes. NANT is not responsible for tracking your registry usage.

PT CE Credit: This course is approved for 0.75 contact hours from the Ohio Physical Therapy Association (OPTA) for continuing education in Ohio.
NANT is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Physical Therapy as an approved provider of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant continuing education.

Questions regarding CE credit should be directed to the National Association of Neonatal Therapists at or (866) 999-5524.

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