A scoping review of the evidence for the use of screening tools in people with intellectual disabilities with dysphagia

Lisa O'Leary, Andrew Maine, Nicola Ring, James Reid, Lorraine Speirs, Louise Allan, Maria Truesdale, Laurence Taggart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Dysphagia can have serious health implications including choking and respiratory infection leading to poorer quality of life. People with intellectual disabilities are at higher risk of dysphagia related health complications and early death. Robust dysphagia screening tools are vital for this population.
Method: A scoping review and appraisal of the evidence for dysphagia and feeding screening tools for use with people with intellectual disabilities was undertaken.
Results: Seven studies (using six screening tools) met the review inclusion criteria. Mostly studies were limited by no defined dysphagia criteria, no verification of tools with a gold reference standard (e.g., videofluoroscopic examination) and lack of participant diversity (small samples, narrow age range, severity of intellectual disability or limited settings).
Conclusions: There is urgent need for development and rigorous appraisal of existing dysphagia screening tools to meet the needs of a wider range of people with intellectual disabilities (particularly mild‐to‐moderate severity) and in wider settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-447
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number3
Early online date16 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Sheena Moffatt for her invaluable and specialist support with literature searching and screening. We would also like to thank the School of Health and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University for funding this project.

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the Strategic Research and Knowledge Exchange Fund, Edinburgh Napier University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • aspiration
  • dysphagia
  • intellectual disability
  • scoping review
  • screening tool
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Deglutition Disorders/diagnosis
  • Intellectual Disability/epidemiology


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