20 February 2024

Shine a spotlight on dysphagia on Swallowing Awareness Day (13 March 2024) and showcase the role of speech and language therapists in supporting people with eating, drinking, and swallowing difficulties.

We often take eating, drinking, and swallowing for granted, but some people have difficulties consuming food and drink. This can affect the person’s quality of life and lead to other health complications, which is why speech and language therapists (SLTs) have a pivotal role to play in this area.

For this year’s Swallowing Awareness Day, which takes place during NHS Nutrition and Hydration Week, we’ll be joined again by Speech Pathology Australia and others around the world to highlight the important work speech and language therapists do in supporting people of all ages living with dysphagia.

We hope you will join us too in sharing your stories of eating, drinking, and swallowing and, to help you do this, we have developed a suite of resources for you to download to support your activity, including new posters, social media graphics and stickers.

If you’re posting about Swallowing Awareness Day on social media, please use the hashtag #SwallowAware2024 and tag @RCSLT on X (Twitter) and Instagram. We can’t wait to see all your campaign activities!

Role of speech and language therapy

Dysphagia can be found in all stages of life, including in infants, children and young people and adults. It often occurs with other health conditions, such as being born prematurely, having learning disabilities, dementia and stroke.

If not treated appropriately, dysphagia can lead to other health complications, reduced quality of life, and potentially life-threatening consequences.

Speech and language therapists play a key role in the identification and management of dysphagia.


  • Have a unique role in the diagnosis of dysphagia
  • Help people regain their swallowing through exercises, techniques and positioning
  • Promote patient safety through modifying the texture of food and fluids, reducing the risk of malnutrition, dehydration and choking
  • Promote quality of life, taking into account an individual’s and their families’ preferences and beliefs, and helping them adjust to living with swallowing difficulties
  • Work with other healthcare staff, particularly dietitians, to optimise nutrition and hydration
  • Educate and train others in identifying, assessing and managing dysphagia

As well as improving quality of life and mental and physical wellbeing, speech and language therapy for those with dysphagia also produces economic benefits and savings for the wider health economy, including through reducing avoidable hospital admissions.