When To Use The HAWK Swallowing Exercise
The HAWK swallowing exercise aims to:
- Strengthen posterior pharyngeal wall movement
- Improve tongue-base retraction
For premade dysphagia handouts and treatment guides, check out The Adult Speech Therapy Starter Pack!
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How To Do The HAWK Swallowing Exercise
- Sit upright
- Say HAWK by:
- Opening your mouth wide, almost like a yawn
- Retracting your tongue way back as if making a ‘K’ sound
- Emphasize the ‘K’ sound
- Repeat 10 times or to the point of fatigue
…But Is It Evidence-Based?
It can be confusing when the dysphagia treatment literature contradicts itself. One study may find that a certain exercise is effective. While another finds the exact opposite!
But just because a certain exercise lacks proof, doesn’t necessarily mean that it shouldn’t be used (Langmore, S.E. & Pisegna, J.M., 2015).
So what’s a clinician to do?
First of all, keep up with the research and current best practices! But also be guided by the principles of motor learning, neuroplasticity, and exercise rehabilitation.
Below is a quick review. To learn more, read How To Make Dysphagia Treatment Exercises More Effective.
- Work at the patient’s level
- Keep exercises salient (the best exercise for swallowing is swallowing!)
- Be specific
- Emphasize correct form
- Repeat, repeat, repeat
- Do different types of movements
- Gradually increase the challenge
For evidence-based patient handouts, worksheets, templates, and much more, check out The Adult Speech Therapy Starter Pack!