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Resources for Feeding, Eating, Drinking, Speech, and Mouth/Airway Function


Hot Topic Blog - Feeding, Eating, & Drinking


By Donna Edwards, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S in Dayton, Ohio

October 2015


Over the years, it has been my passion to increase safety with feeding and swallowing for adults and children alike. This pediatric-based project (i.e., the Chewing Can Be Tricky coloring book) arose from conversations with parents and therapeutic clinical experiences revealing caregiver perceptions that children choking on food as they transition through various feeding stages was an acceptable and NOT AN ALARMING occurrence.

Presenting at local, state, national, and international venues afforded me the opportunity to share statistics regarding pediatric choking risks from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) on a limited basis. My hope is this coloring book will meet a need to protect the lives of children. For after all, “In the United States, our hospital emergency rooms serve more than 10,000 children annually for food choking injuries, and every 5 days a child does not survive. This is often preventable” (Edwards, Chewing Can Be Tricky, 2015).

The coloring book Chewing Can Be Tricky is an educational endeavor to support providers, caregivers, and children in the goal to reduce choking risk in the pediatric population at home, at daycare, in the community, and in schools. I am a speech-language pathologist with Board Certification in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, and I conceived of the concept and wrote the educational text for Chewing Can Be Tricky. The project was sponsored via an unrestricted educational grant from BRACCO Imaging.

The coloring book is a resourceful functional tool with four distinct sections.

-The first section is for children to color to promote awareness and discussion of chewing and swallowing to increase safety and reduce choking risk.

-The second section provides interactive activity sheets that can be shared with children for further discussion.

-The third section is a caregiver/parent segment to promote safe eating tips for children and activities for parents and professionals

-The fourth section is for professionals and shares statistical data, mealtime strategies, citations, and resources.

Additionally, this endeavor is in line with concerns for children who may have a history of negative experiences with food resulting in selective eating behaviors, negative physiological responses to the presence of food, learned oral aversions, as well as a limited diet where avoiding whole food groups negatively impacts essential nutrition for a healthy, productive lifestyle. It is my hope that education through this coloring book as well as other projects will foster an environment of safety at mealtimes for all children at home, at the baby sitter, in schools, and in the community.

Get the Chewing Can Be Tricky (Free Coloring Book): English Version, Spanish Version

About the Author

Donna Edwards is a national and international speaker. She is a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and a Level III clinician at Dayton Children’s Hospital where she serves an inpatient and outpatient pediatric population and trains students/colleagues in clinical care. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Upon graduating, she worked with children and adolescents in the school system. After several years, she relocated to Ohio and began working with adults in extended care facilities before working as the Dysphagia Coordinator at a Level I Trauma Hospital for 10 years while treating patients in acute care and on the Head Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, and CVA (Cerebrovascular accident) rehabilitation teams. 

Donna served as the Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association (OSLHA) Director of Legislative Advocacy and representative to the Governmental Affairs Coalition (GAC) for 6 years. She is a member of The Specialty Board on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (AB-SSD), Liaison to the Mentor Committee and Secretary for the AB-SSD Board. In addition, she has served ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) as the SIG 13 Perspectives Editor. She was also on the ASHA 2012-2015 Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders Topic Committee. Donna has served as the 2013 OSLHA state Convention Co-Chair and the 2013 Convention Regional Program Co-Chair. Currently, she serves as a member of the ASHA Government Relations Public Policy Board as well as Vice President Elect for OSLHA. She has been honored as an OSLHA Fellow (2014) and an ASHA Fellow (2015). Donna has been a speech language pathologist for 25+ years. Feel free to contact Donna at