October 18, 2018

How speech-language therapy can help people of all ages

Family Medicine

Speech-Language Pathologists, or SLPs, work with people who have speech, language, thinking, and swallowing problems. Speech therapy often involves strengthening and retraining the muscle groups involved in speech and swallowing, making the treatment for related conditions rehabilitative.

Our speech therapists are specially-trained in the evaluation and treatment of dysphagia, issues with cognition, and communication – including treatment for speech disorders in children (developmental delay) and adults who have had a stroke, head injury, or other neurological problem.

What are speech-language disorders?

Speech disorders refer to problems with producing sounds. They include:

  • Articulation disorders. Articulation disorders refer to problems with saying words correctly or making certain word sounds.
  • Fluency disorders. Fluency disorders refer to problems with stuttering, prolonging word sounds or repeating parts of words.
  • Resonance/voice disorders. Resonance/voice disorders refer to problems with the volume, pitch or quality of your voice.

Language disorders refer to problems with understanding words or putting words together. They include:

  • Receptive disorders. Receptive disorders refer to problems with your ability to understand or process language.
  • Expressive disorders. Expressive disorders refer to problems with vocabulary, putting words together, or using language appropriately.
  • Cognitive-communication disorders. Cognitive-communication disorders refer to problems with types of communication that require the use of cognitive skills such as attention, problem-solving, memory, regulation or perception.

Speech-language therapy is provided by specially trained and certified healthcare professionals called speech-language pathologists (SLPs). SLPs also treat dysphagia and feeding disorders that cause problems with eating and drinking.

How can speech-language therapy help children?

 Children pick up language and communication skills very quickly, especially in their first years of life. Identifying a speech or language disorder and getting help as soon as possible can help your child avoid developmental delays and prevent future communication problems.

Speech-language therapy can help children who have a variety of health conditions. If your child needs speech-language therapy, his or her SLP will develop a customized treatment plan that may include one-on-one or small group therapy. Your child’s SLP may use games that include oral exercises, modeling correct sounds/vocabulary/grammar, and word repetition.

How can speech-language therapy help adults?

Most people are aware that speech-language therapy can help adults who have speech problems caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury. However, many adults who have degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease also can benefit from speech-language therapy.

Adult speech-language therapy also can treat conditions such as difficulty drinking or eating, chronic hoarseness, swelling of the vocal cords, or growths on the vocal cords called vocal nodules or polyps. It can even help prevent vocal fatigue in adults who do a lot of speaking at work (teachers, sports coaches, call center workers, etc.).

Whether you or your child needs speech-language therapy to communicate more effectively, Fort HealthCare has speech therapy services that can help.