Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Special Education

Committee Member

Sarah Ginsberg, Ed.D., CCC-SLP, Chair

Committee Member

Bill Cupples, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Carrie Dawson, M.S., RN


Infants with dysphagia are at increased risk for poor health and nutritional outcomes (Arvedson, 2008) if improperly diagnosed or managed. Communication between multidisciplinary team members is imperative for transition from screening to intervention. An overlap in scope of practice may exist between lactation consultants (LCs) and speech-language pathologists (SLPs). In order to facilitate multidisciplinary understanding and communication, this study was designed to understand how LCs evaluate oral mechanism function and dysphagia in breastfeeding neonates as well as their understanding of the role of SLPs in the management of dysphagia in neonates through a comparative multi-case, summative qualitative study. Participants described a multifaceted clinical assessment process. The participants’ understanding of the role and knowledge of SLPs in the care of neonates with idiopathic dysphagia was limited. The study identified a clear position for the SLP in the assessment and interpretation of craniofacial/orofacial function and dysphagia in newborns.