What Is Speech Pathology?
Here at Hope Therapy Center, our speech therapy staff is committed in their quest to provide you with the most comprehensive treatment programs. Your experience at Hope will begin with a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed speech language pathologist who will develop an individualized treatment program to ensure that you will reach your goals. We provide skilled treatment to adult patients with a variety of medical conditions that affect their speech, language, swallowing or cognition. Upon becoming a patient at Hope Therapy Center, you will discover that we love helping patients and we love our chosen profession.
There are many specialty areas in the field of speech pathology. Although this is well known throughout the profession, it is often overlooked by the general public. Below is a brief description of the most common disorders treated by a speech pathologist.
This disorder results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language through stroke or other brain injury. Aphasia may cause problems with speaking, listening, reading, or writing. Some people with aphasia have trouble using words and sentences (expressive aphasia). Some have problems understanding others (receptive aphasia). Others with aphasia struggle with both using words and understanding (global aphasia). Aphasia can range from mild or severe and the severity of communication difficulties depends on the amount and location of the damage to the brain.
Apraxia of Speech
This motor speech disorder is caused by damage to parts of the brain required for speaking. People affected by apraxia have trouble sequencing sounds into syllables, words and sentences. While they know what they want to say, their brains have difficulty coordinating the muscles of the mouth to actually say the words. Sometimes, they may say something completely different or they may produce made up words. This can become very frustrating for the patient.
This motor speech disorder is characterized by weakness of the mouth, face, or respiratory muscles following stroke, brain injury, or progressive neurological conditions. Your speech therapist will complete an evaluation and develop a treatment program to target specific weakness. She may also introduce strategies that can be implemented early in the program to supplement your communication.
Swallowing difficulty can occur following stroke, brain injury, or prolonged time on a ventilator. It can also become problematic as neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, progress. The best diagnostic test to assess the swallow is a radiographic test known as the Modified Barium Swallow Study. The interpretation of this test is the basis for developing a program to treat the disordered swallow. Swallowing disorder may be treated using a variety of techniques depending on the type of swallowing disorder with which the patient presents. For example, oral phase swallowing disorders require strengthening and coordination of the muscles of the mouth. While pharyngeal phase swallowing disorder require the muscles within the throat to be targeted. If you are having swallowing difficulty, consult your physician and if therapy is indicated, a referral will be made to speech therapy.
If you have experienced a hoarse voice for more than 2 to 3 weeks, you should consult your physician. A thorough voice evaluation should include: a physician’s examination, preferably by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) who specializes in voice, a voice evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (SLP), and if indicated, a neurological examination. This compilation of professionals will evaluate vocal quality, pitch, loudness, ability to sustain voicing, and other voice characteristics. An instrumental examination may take place that involves inserting an endoscope into the mouth or nose to look at the vocal cords and larynx in general. Once the structure has been evaluated, the physician will recommend medical, surgical or behavioral treatment. Behavioral treatment includes voice therapy with a speech pathologist. Each program is tailored to each patient with regard to their specific medical condition.
Adults may be referred for speech services by their orthodontist due to a pattern of disordered oral habits that disrupts the alignment of the teeth despite braces or orthodontic appliances. Since this is not considered a medical condition, it is not typically covered by your medical insurance. The term “tongue thrust” or interdental lisp may be used to describe the disordered pattern of speech. The purpose of referral to speech therapy services is to help coordinate, strengthen, and improve the oral and facial muscles so that they can perform the needed tasks of speaking and swallowing. Completion of an orofacial myology program leads to better speech production, better breathing patterns and reduces the likelihood of orthodontic relapse.
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) addresses the expressive communication needs of people with significant speech disability. AAC interventions range from no technology (gestures and signs), low technology (communication board) to high technology (voice output communication systems). Adults who are unable to communicate via traditional means may benefit from an AAC evaluation. The speech therapist helps the patient in selecting the best possible system that will allow him to say exactly what he wants to say in a timely manner.
Vocal Cord & Neurological Disorders
LSVT is a scientifically documented efficacious program for treating voice and speech disorders in patients with Parkinson Disease. It has additional applications to other neurological disorders in adults and children. LSVT LOUD focuses on improving vocal loudness and immediate carryover into daily communication with the end goal of maintaining and/or improving oral communication. LSVT LOUD is an intensive therapeutic treatment consisting of 16 individual, 60 minutes sessions delivered in one month period. To learn more click here www.lsvtglobal.com