An Overview of Safe Eating and Drinking

An Overview of Safe Eating and Drinking 

Mealtime can be an enjoyable and social time of day. However, 5% to 8% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or IDD, have difficulty swallowing food or liquids. These problems raise the risk of choking and can lead to serious health problems. How can you balance safety while promoting independence and quality of life? This course presents an overview of best practices for safe eating and drinking. It presents basic information about choking, aspiration, and dietary orders and allows learners to test their understanding of food modifications.


Hours: 0.75


Certificates provided by accrediting body (1 Match)

National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals

0.75 HOURS

This activity is approved for 0.75 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-IDD-0-OSED
Hours: 0.75
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 12/31/2025
Learning Objectives:
Identify risk factors for choking or other swallowing problems.
Identify signs that a person may be choking or having other swallowing problems.
Explain safe practices for mealtime support that reduce the risk of choking or aspirating.
Explain the levels of food and drink texture used in the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) standards.

Section 1: Introduction

About This Course

Learning Objectives

Section 2: Supporting Safe Eating

Meet Sue

Eating Safety




Preventing and Reporting Problems

Behavioral Risk Factors

Medical Risk Factors

Feeding Evaluations

Diet Orders


Section Summary

Section 3: Modified Diets

Modified Diets

Use Caution

The IDDSI Framework

IDDSI Level 7: Regular Foods

IDDSI Level 6: Soft and Bite-sized

IDDSI Level 5: Minced and Moist

Test for Texture

IDDSI Level 4: Pureed Foods or Extremely Thick Liquids

IDDSI Level 3: Liquidized Foods or Moderately Thick Liquids

IDDSI Level 2: Mildly Thick Liquids

IDDSI Level 1: Slightly Thick Liquids

IDDSI Level 0: Thin Liquids

Planning for Special Events

What Do You Think?


Section Summary

Section 5: Conclusion


Course Contributors




Instructor: Katy Kunst, MBA, QIDP
Katy Kunst received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her Master of Business Administration from Elon University. She has 14 years of experience serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their supporters, including roles as direct support professional, program director, and training facilitator. She has created and facilitated training on topics including non-violent crisis interventions, person-centered planning, cultural competence, quality service delivery, regulatory compliance, and a variety of topics related to IDD services. Disclosure: Katy Kunst, MBA, QIDP has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Expert Reviewer: Julie Stefanski, MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDCES, FAND

Julie Stefanski, MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDCES, FAND is a SME Writer focused on topics related to food, nutrition & dietetics for Relias. She is a registered dietitian nutritionist and has been a certified diabetes educator since 2003. Ms. Stefanski earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and a master's degree in Adult Education with a special focus on distance learning. She was an adjunct instructor in the Stabler Department of Nursing at York College of Pennsylvania for 13 years. Stefanski is the owner of Stefanski Nutrition Services where she specializes in pediatric nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues and sports nutrition. Stefanski serves as national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Disclosure: Julie Stefanski, MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDCES, FAND has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.