Speech language pathologists prevent, assess, and diagnose speech deficits, communication disorders, voice disturbances, cognitive deficits, and swallow difficulties. We work with pediatric, young adults, and geriatric populations. Speech language pathologists work in various settings such as outpatient clinics, schools, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities. We address different diagnoses in adults such as stroke, Parkison’s disease, Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and cognitive decline. Symptoms resulting from these diagnoses can include dysarthria, expressive aphasia, receptive aphasia, apraxia, voice issues, oral motor weakness, dysphagia, and cognitive deficits. Speech language pathologists address different diagnoses in pediatrics such as articulation disorders, language disorders, apraxia of speech, voice disturbances, and fluency disorders.
Diagnoses treated in adult populations:
- Parkinson’s disease ( LSVT LOUD PROGRAM)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Cognitive decline
Diagnoses treated in pediatric populations:
- Articulation disorders
- Language disorders
- Apraxia of speech
- Voice disorders
- (Speech Therapy is offered here for Pediatrics ages 3 and up.)
Word Retrieval Difficulties
Word retrieval difficulty occurs when a person cannot come up with the right word that he or she is thinking of. It is often referred to as word finding difficulty or anomia. A person often becomes frustrated and stops communication when this occurs. Word retrieval difficulty can be a result from a stroke, head injury, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or even with normal aging.
Expressive and Receptive Aphasia
Expressive aphasia is when a person is having difficulty expressing himself verbally. Often times the person knows what they want to say however is unable to say it. It can also be called Broca’s Aphasia. Often times comprehension remains intact. Receptive aphasia is when a person can express themselves however does not understand what is being said to them. It can also be called Wernicke’s Aphasia. Expressive aphasia and receptive aphasia can be a result from a stroke or head injury.
Apraxia of Speech
Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult for a person to move their mouth to formulate words. Apraxia of speech can result from a stroke or brain injury.
Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder caused by muscle weakness. It is characterized by imprecise consonants or slurring of the words, reduced rate of speech, increased rate of speech, reduced intensity, poor breath support, monotone voice, and difficulty moving oral structures appropriately. Dysarthria can be caused by a stroke, head injury, tumors, Parkison’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Cerebral palsy.
Voice disturbances or voice disorders are conditions that involve abnormal voice. This can include abnormal pitches, loudness levels and quality of sound produced by the larynx. Common symptoms of voice disorders are hoarseness, breathy voice quality, vocal strain, loss of voice, excessive throat clearing, excessive coughing, and reduced pitch. Voice disturbances can be caused by damaged vocal fords, excessive use, excessive loudness, intubation, vocal fold nodules, vocal fold cysts, and vocal fold paresis.
Cognitive decline or mild cognitive impairment is when a person shows a noticeable decline in thinking skills that include memory. Some symptoms of cognitive decline are intermittent confusion, short term memory deficits, immediate memory deficits, impaired judgement and problem solving, and complex thinking. People with cognitive decline are often at an increased risk for developing a form of Dementia. Cognitive decline can result from excessive use of drugs and alcohol, brain injury, and environmental causes such as poor nutrition.
Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia can be difficulty eating solids and/or difficulty drinking liquids. It is often caused from nerve damage or muscle weakness. There are four types of dysphagia that a speech language pathologist would treat. The first type of dysphagia is oral dysphagia. This is when the person has difficulty controlling food or liquid in the mouth. For example, the food or liquid may pocket in the buccal cavities or the food or liquid may spill out of the left or right side of the lips. The second type of dysphagia is pharyngeal dysphagia. This is when the person has difficulty in the throat area during the swallow phase. For example, the airway may not close adequately allowing liquids to pour into the lungs due to a slow swallow response. The third type of dysphagia is a combination of oral and pharyngeal dysphagia called oropharyngeal dysphagia. This is when the person is having difficulty with both the oral phase and pharyngeal phases of the swallow. The last type of dysphagia is esophageal dysphagia. This is when the person is having difficulty in the esophagus. For example, a person may have the feeling something is “stuck” when they are eating.
Diagnoses that can cause dysphagia:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Head/neck injuries
- Throat/mouth cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
Symptoms of dysphagia:
- Coughing and/or choking when eating
- Coughing while drinking liquids
- Gagging when eating
- Food or liquid spilling out of the mouth
- Temperature spikes during a meal/sweating
- Watery eyes when eating or drinking
- Runny nose when eating or drinking
- Throat clearing when eating and drinking