Many of us take our abilities to hear and speak for granted. Communication skills are vital to our social development and consequently, have profound effect on how we live our daily lives. Unfortunately, millions of people live with the challenges of speech, language and hearing disorders.

speech therapist with elderly patientIn honor of Better Speech and Hearing Month, celebrated every May, Fort HealthCare speech therapist Kathy Pazak shares information on why this is important and what indicators may be helpful in indentifying speech related challenges.

“Our team of specialized speech language pathologists provide diagnostic and treatment services to outpatients with speech language, cognitive, voice or swallowing problems,” says Pazak. The treatment options referred to can treat a variety of disorders in adults, which may include:

• Stuttering or fluency disorders
• Acquired speech/language disorders such as aphasia, dysarthria or apraxia
• Swallowing disorders in adults
• Memory disorders associated with a neurological event such as a stroke, head injury or tumor
• Post-concussive cognitive disorders
• Vocal fold dysfunction
• Tongue thrust

Children with speech-related developmental imparities are also treated for many concerns, such as:

• Autism
• Cerebral palsy
• Traumatic brain injury
• Phonological impairment
• Developmental delay relative to articulation or language
• Apraxia of speech

A speech language pathologist will work with the child using age-appropriate play activities to stimulate language development leading to more complete development. Pazak added, “Whether working with a hearing impaired child or an elderly person after a stroke, our goal is always to help clients achieve an enhanced quality of life.”

Speech therapists specialize in the assessment and treatment of swallowing disorders as well as language and reasoning skills that may be due to a stroke, head injury or developmental disorder. Family involvement in therapy is essential as the clinician utilizes family support in the treatment of the whole patient. Therapists also help facilitate cognitive processes that are impaired due to a neurological disorder. Fort HealthCare speech therapists use modern technology, like iPods and Lingraphica, when suitable to provide leading treatment to patients.

To learn more about speech therapy at Fort HealthCare, visit