All Things Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) for the 
Medical Speech-Language Pathologist

Recorded Course – 1.0 ASHA CEUS

Presented by: Michelle Dehgan, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

When you work with patients who have a spinal cord injury (SCI), there’s a lot to consider.

Michelle Dehgan learned this quickly while working alongside a spinal cord injury team for the past 15+ years. Like the time she saw a patient who had a stroke in his spine (yes, that’s possible)…

He was a young and independent man who now relied on a vent.

When Michelle did a speaking valve assessment, all of the ventilator alarms went off.

His oxygen saturation levels dropped rapidly while his blood pressure began to rise.

“I don’t feel right…” he quietly told her.

She took the speaking valve off, and within 15 minutes, everything returned to normal.

Michelle had triggered autonomic dysreflexia – a condition that results in an overreaction of the autonomic system when stimulated.

This was an unexpected barrier to his goals, but one Michelle and the team were prepared to work with. So prepared, in fact, that now this patient is walking, talking, back at work, and living his best life with only 1-2 hour vent requirements at night.

With over 15 years of clinical experience with the SCI team, Michelle has grown an impressive repertoire of skills and knowledge that goes far beyond what we typically learn as SLPs.

And she will be sharing her knowledge, experience, and the research to back it up in her 10-hour course: 

All Things Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) for the Speech-Language Pathologist

“This course covers all things spinal cord injury. From general anatomy to all the changes the human body goes through after a spinal cord injury. This includes breathing, swallowing, skin changes, bowel and bladder changes, sexuality, psychological well-being, caloric intake…changes we need to be better informed on so we can work better with our colleagues.

This course is different from typical courses…

We’re going to take the road less traveled.”

–  Michelle Dehgan, M.A. CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The impact of SCI on the body system as a whole and how that impacts the SLP plan of care.

  • How to apply core SCI knowledge to dysphagia and communication case studies to anticipate challenges.

  • How to plan treatment sessions for the SCI population that incorporates breathing, voice, swallowing, and cognition.

Here’s how your medical SLP practice will transform:

  • Create highly relevant and realistic goals for SCI patients


  • Become more comfortable looking at medical records and piecing together what might be contributing to your SCI patients’ barriers


  • Confidently work alongside other SCI professionals for holistic care and improved advocacy.

How is this course different from other courses?

“This course is different from typical courses because most of our coursework only focuses on the areas to which we are accustomed – cognition, language, motor speech, dysphagia…We’re going to look at all areas of spinal cord injury – physical, cognitive, behavioral, emotional, everything. We’re going to look at a day in the life of someone with a spinal cord injury and the pathways for getting well.” -Michelle

Why we’re honored to have Michelle teach this course:

Michelle has 25 years of clinical experience, with 15 of those years being dedicated to the SCI population.

Not only is Michelle a leading contributor to the SCI team at her facility, but she is the reason why SLPs are consistently involved. 

On top of her rockstar clinical contributions, Michelle is also the Research/Education Coordinator for Speech-Language Pathology at her facility, she earned her board certification in swallowing and swallowing disorders in 2007, is an ASHA STEP mentor, and is an ASHA CE administrator for two organizations.

When she’s not teaching, she’s learning. With an average count of four books/week, you’re most likely going to find Michelle’s nose buried in a novel (or textbook?) when she’s not at work. And when she wants to give her brain a break, she likes to make jewelry.

“I really like lifting others up because I think too often, people get burnt out in the daily clinical practice, and they need a friend who helps them grow.” 

We love Michelle, and we’re positive you will, too.

Are you ready to take the road less traveled to the world of spinal cord injuries?