Better hearing and speech month is here! That may not mean a lot to most people, but to people who have communication difficulties it could mean the world. Often we take for granted our speech and how easy it is to communicate until we see a family member or we ourselves begin to struggle with communication. It is important to know all that speech therapy can do to help you and your family.
Often we think of speech therapy as just addressing people with deficits speaking. Maybe a child who is not really talking when they should be or a person who has suffered a stroke and is unable to speak. This is a portion of what speech therapy can do, but is not all inclusive. Language disorders can come in all shapes and sizes. Here is just a brief list of that a Speech-Language Pathologist can work with:
Work with individuals who have difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (stuttering is an example of disfluency)
Work with individuals who have difficulty understanding when others speak to them (receptive language disorders)
Work with individuals who have difficulties sharing their thoughts, ideas, or feelings (expressive language disorders)
Work with individuals who either have difficulty with communicating either the spoken word or in written form
Work with individuals who have social communication disorders that may affect verbal and non-verbal communication in social settings
Work with individuals who have cognitive deficits and memory issues related to communication. These may include difficulty organizing thoughts, remembering, paying attention, planning, and problem solving.
Work with individuals who have feeding or swallowing difficulties.
Work with individual caregivers regarding how best to communicate with their family members as their illness progresses as in dementia and Alzheimer’s
Communication difficulties can be caused by many things because the entire brain has some portion of control over communication. If one area is affected, it can cause a missing link, so to speak, in the communication channels, therefore causing a breakdown in communication. Depending on what area of the brain is affected will determine what kind of communication difficulties are manifested. A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) can figure out where the breakdown is occurring and offer support to get that system back on line and working again.
SLPs have a wide range of skills and techniques that they can utilize to assist patients. Likewise, SLPs see a wide age range of patients, starting with children who are slow with their language development up to elderly patients who are struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Another large population that our SLP deals with is the traumatic brain injury/concussion patients. This is an important population that we address as a whole in primary care partners and for this team to include a knowledgeable speech-language pathologist is huge.
Speech Therapy is an important part of a treatment plan for many people. If you are wondering how speech therapy may benefit you or a family member give us a call today. We would love to help you in any way we can.
***Information complied by Tara Albright PT, DPT, Cert DN from asha.org