Speech-language pathologists (SLP), also know as speech therapists, work to diagnose, treat, and prevent disorders that affect communication. They specialize in issues related to speech, cognitive, language, voice, swallowing, fluency of speaking, and understanding of communication. They work closely with the PT’s and OT’s to correct patients swallowing and cognitive deficits.
Speech and language disorders:
Speech disorders include the following problems:
– Articulation disorders include difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly.
– Fluency disorders include problems such as stuttering.
– Resonance or voice disorders include problems with the pitch,volume, or quality of the voice.
– Dysphagia /oral feeding disorders include difficulties with eating and swallowing.
Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive:
– Receptive disorders refer to difficulties understanding or processing language.
– Expressive disorders include difficulty putting words together, limited
vocabulary, or inability to use language in an appropriate way.
Other disorders include following problems:
– Cognitive Communication impairments, such as attention, memory, and problem solving disorders.
– Hearing loss who use hearing aids or cochlear implants in order to develop auditory skills and improve communication.
Causes of speech, cognitive communication, language and swallowing disorders:
– Traumatic brain injury
– Medical condition ( such as cerebral palsy)
– Neurological disorders
– Birth defects
– Developmental problems
– Learning disabilities
– Hearing loss
– Certain medications
– Alcohol and drug abuse
How SLP can be helpful?
Speech-language pathologists use appropriate and special instruments and written and oral tests to diagnose the nature and extent of impairment and to record and analyze speech, language, and swallowing irregularities. SLP develop an individual plan of care tailored to each patients needs.They may select augmentative or alternative communication methods, including automated devices and sign language, and teach their use. They teach the patients how to make sounds, improve their voices,and increase their language skills to communicate more effectively. In schools, SLP develop individual or group programs, counsel parents , and may assist teachers with classroom activities. They will use language intervention activities, articulation therapy, and oral/feeding therapy. Finally, oral exercises are used to strengthen muscles of the tongue, lips, jaw, and face in general. These exercises may include facial massage and eating.
SLP counsel individuals and their families concerning communication disorders and how to cope with the stress and show them how to use the communication enhancing techniques at home.