Short courses


The Practical Management of Eating and Drinking Difficulties in Children: an Introduction

  • 18 hours
  • 3 days


This three-day course is for professionals working with pre-school and school-aged children (but not infants) who have physical difficulties with eating and drinking.

The course will suggest practical approaches that can be used to help children with such difficulties.

This course is run by UCL's Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PaLS).

Course content

The course focuses on dysphagia related to children with physical problems such as cerebral palsy - not children with autism, or those who are fussy eaters or who have behavioural problems. 

During the course you'll consider the practical aspects of these problems within a developmental framework. 

The aim is to give you an understanding of the normal development of eating and drinking skills, including the recognition of signs of aspiration. 

You'll look at the impact of gross motor on oral-motor skills. This provides a framework for assessment and will help you improve your observation skills. 

There will be opportunities to share concerns with other participants and staff.

Who this course is for

You may be a:

  • speech and language therapist (SLT)
  • physiotherapist
  • occupational therapist
  • other professional working with children

Course structure

Over the three days of the course there will be small and large group discussions concentrating on areas of specific interest.

Videos will be used to illustrate points and for discussion.

Handouts will be provided for most of the sessions.

Please note: you'll require hands-on supervision following this course.

Pre-course preparation

You're invited to bring videos of children with eating and drinking difficulties which may be used in workshop sessions (on a DVD or USB stick).

A short accompanying written summary of the content of the video would be appreciated. This should include the age of the child, the diagnosis, management problems, length of the video, and any information which may be relevant to the child's eating and drinking difficulties.

Course team

April Winstock

April Winstock

April is a specialist speech and language therapist (SLT) with 40 years’ experience. She's worked at The Bobath Centre, in special schools, hospitals and the community seeing children who have eating and drinking difficulties. She's the author of two books on paediatric dysphagia. April currently has her own practice working with children and their families, running training courses, supervising SLTs and providing medico-legal reports to the courts.

Julia Hopkins

Julia Hopkins

Paediatric Dietitian

Martina Ryan

Martina Ryan

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Gill Stern

Gill Stern


Learner reviews

"I really enjoyed the course and feel a lot more confident in my knowledge and practice." [June 2016]

"Practical and hands-on approach adapted to the needs of the students." [December 2015]

"All very relevant. Really useful content." [June 2014]

"Have learnt so much in just three days. Will definitely use the knowledge I have gained clinically. I'm looking forward to working with dysphagia clients rather than being slightly petrified." [June 2013]

"Extremely beneficial course." [February 2013]

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:00