Speech Therapy

In our rehabilitation center, our speech-language pathologist can identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.  The use of written and oral tests as well as special instruments to diagnose the nature and extent of impairment, and to record and analyze speech, language and swallowing irregularities may be used.  The following outlines the different areas of concern.

Voice Disorders

  • Neurological
  • Vocal Abuse/misuse
  • Vocal hygiene education

Fluency / Aural Rehabilitation

  • Child and Adult

Speech Disorders

A speech disorder is an impairment of articulation of speech sounds, fluency or voice.  Some causes may be related to hearing loss, stroke or severe head injury, or mental retardation.  Speech disfluencies such a stuttering may be influenced by genetics, incoordination of speech muscles, environmental factors, or rate of language development.

Language Disorders

A language disorder is the impaired comprehension and/or use of spoken and written language necessary for expressing and understanding thoughts and ideas.  Disorders of language affect children and adults differently.

For children who do not use language normally from birth, or who acquire the impairment in childhood, the disorder occurs in the context of a language system that is not fully developed or acquired.  Adults acquire disorders of language because of stroke, head injury, dementia, or brain tumors.

Neurological Communication Disorders

  • Aphasia

Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to language centers of the brain.  For almost all right-handers and for about 1/2 of left-handers, damage to the left side of the brain causes aphasia.  As a result, individuals who were previously able to communicate through speaking, listening, reading and writing become more limited in their ability to do so.  The most common cause of aphasia is stroke, but gunshot wounds, blows to the head, other traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, and other sources of brain damage can also cause aphasia.

Expressive and Receptive Language

Some people with aphasia have problems with expressive language (what is said) while others have their major problems with receptive language (what is understood).  In still other cases, both expressive language and receptive language are obviously impaired.  Language is affected not only in its oral form of talking and understanding but also in its written form of reading and writing.  Typically, reading and writing are more impaired than oral communication.  The nature of the problem varies from person to person depending on many factors but most importantly on the amount and location of the damage to the brain

  • Apraxia

Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that frequently occurs in combination with the language disorder aphasia.  Apraxia affects a person's ability to speak when desired.  The individual with apraxia knows what to say but is unable to get the muscles of speech to produce the right sounds.  Although the muscles of speech are not paralyzed, the person has difficulty programming and sequencing the voluntary movements of the tongue, lips, soft palate, and vocal cords.  Programming refers to getting the message of correct sounds from the brain to the mouth.  Sequencing is the proper ordering of movements in order to say specific sounds and words.  With apraxia, the transmission of the brain's signal to the muscles of speech is disrupted.

  • Degenerative diseases

We provide diagnostic and treatment services for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis.

  • Dysarthria

Dysarthria is a motor speech (or neuromuscular) disorder, which is caused by paralysis, weakness (paresis), or in coordination of the muscles of speech as a result of brain damage.  Dysarthria can affect the following: Respiration, Phonation, Articulation, Nasality & Densality, Vocal Quality.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Can be divided into two types: Open head injury/Closed Head Injury. Common Causes are: Motor vehicle accidents, Gun shot wounds, Falls, Bicycle accidents, Blows to the head, Anoxia (loss of oxygen to brain).

  • Cognition

A person with cognitive impairments may experience problems in the following:

  1. Expressing Opinions
  2. Verbal Pragmatic Skills
  3. Initiation
  4. Processing Information
  5. Attention
  6. Memory
  7. Orientation
  8. Problem Solving
  9. Safety Awareness
  10. Sequencing
  11. Executive Functioning
  12. Abstract Thought
  13. Expressing and Reacting to Emotions
  14. Social Appropriateness


Dysphagia

  • Modified barium swallow studies-execution and analysis
  • Dysphagia Therapy

Dysphagia is a disorder of swallowing that may affect eating, drinking, taking oral medications, and even swallowing your saliva.

Some common swallowing complaints are difficulty chewing your food and initiating a swallow, coughing and choking when you eat or drink, feeling that something is stuck in your throat or upper chest, and food or liquid coming back up after you have swallowed.

If you have a swallowing problem, your physician may refer you to a speech-language pathologist for a swallowing evaluation and treatment.  The swallowing evaluation includes review of you medical history, checking the strength and coordination of the muscles involved in swallowing, and trying techniques to see if they make swallowing easier.  You may have a swallowing test in the

radiology department or your throat may be viewed with a small flexible scope through your nose as you swallow.  The goal of the swallow evaluation is to understand the cause of your swallowing problem so effective therapy can be planned to help you improve your swallowing.

Swallowing therapy might include exercises to strengthen and coordinate all parts of your swallowing mechanism, identifying the textures you can swallow most efficiently, and instruction in use of compensatory techniques to help your swallowing.  Safe and effective swallowing is important for good nutrition and respiratory health.