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Featured Course – Oral Feedings on Respiratory Devices: Picking Apart the Controversy

“Louisa’s research is so important and relative to my work at the bedside. She has a great style of presenting and keeping the audience engaged.” -Shannan Murphy-Barlow, OTR/L, IBCLC

Speaker: 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.

Target Audience: OT, SLP, PT, and neonatal professionals

Educational Level: Intermediate

CE Credit: OT & SLP .5 hour
PT .75 hours

Course Fee: $37 or Free for NANT Members


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

Click here to take the course now.

“Excellent information that has impacted my practice and changed the recommendations I make to physicians, nurses, and parents regarding oral feeds when on respiratory support.” Carrie Jensen, OTR/L, SWC