June 1, 2018

Speech pathologists do more than just work on speech

General Health

Speech pathologists work to prevent, evaluate, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing disorders that may occur in the many different stages of life. Speech therapy includes a wide range of rehabilitation techniques which help people adapt to or regain skills lost due to illness or injury.

Types of conditions we treat

Dysphonia – A voice disorder resulting from illness or injury to the voice box (larynx). It can also be the result of overuse or abuse of one’s voice. Examples of this include not drinking enough water, smoking, shouting, or extended use of the voice.

Dysphagia – Difficulty swallowing caused by an Illness or injury. Experiencing difficulty swallowing may look like difficulty chewing food well or swallowing food whole, coughing when eating or drinking, a wet sounding voice, or food or medications feeling like they are caught in the throat.

Aphasia – A language disorder that can occur after a stroke or other brain injury. It may impact the following areas:

  • Receptive Language – Understanding spoken language, which includes skills such as answering questions, following directions, and understanding conversation.
  • Expressive Language – Producing words, which includes saying words, producing sentences, and participating in conversation.
  • Reading Comprehension – Understanding written words, which is the ability to read and understand what you have read.
  • Written Expression – Writing, which is the ability to write words, phrases, and sentences, etc. to make a grocery list, fill out a check, send a text message, write an email, or complete other daily activities.

Communication also includes the way a message, or speech, is produced. Any communication impairment may be frustrating for an individual that’s trying to communicate a message. Problems that someone could experience with communication include:

Dysarthria – Speech that may sound slurred and imprecise, causing a listener to have difficulty understanding the message.

Apraxia – A motor planning problem that occurs when the brain sends a message accurately but the message is disrupted along the way. A person may be unable to complete the physical movements needed to produce a sound or word. There is nothing wrong with the muscles themselves; it’s the message being sent from the brain to the muscles that is being disrupted.

Dysfluency – also known as stuttering. This can cause many disruptions in the smooth flow of speech.

Sometimes, an individual benefits from the use of technology to help them speak. This may be through the use of an application on an iPad or other Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device.

Difficulty with cognitive function can hinder a person’s ability to communicate effectively and live independently. Trouble remembering, focusing, solving problems, or organizing thoughts may be noticed, as well as needing more assistance from family and friends for daily activities.

Therapies for children

Therapies for children are much the same for rehabilitation as with adults, but also includes habilitation. Habilitation is gaining skills that haven’t developed on time.

Children and adolescents can have similar difficulties as adults when it comes to communication (receptive language, expressive language, reading comprehension, written expression), voice, swallowing, and stuttering. They may also struggle with being able to speak clearly. Rehabilitation goals for these issues focus on age-appropriate skills and treatments.

The team of speech therapists at Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport Center is available to work with you and your loved ones to help achieve your health goals related to improving speech, swallowing, and communication challenges. We see patients by appointment in any of our convenient locations with a referral from a primary care provider. You do not need to travel far from home to receive the rehab therapy that you need.