Speech-language pathology services (SLP) boost a person’s ability to communicate and to swallow. SLP addresses the declines associated with neurological difficulties, age-related illness, and deterioration of the swallowing mechanism. SLP may be able to help your loved one with declines due to brain injury, stroke, cancer, infection, or physical abnormality. It’s used to treat breathing problems due to lung diseases or tracheotomy.
Speech therapists also provide treatment of cognitive-linguistic impairments. This treatment focuses on restoring memory, sequencing, problem solving, safety awareness, attention, and their effects on the function of activities of daily living. Exercises may include breaking down a complicated task, like making a grocery list, to small simple steps.
SLP also helps when a person has trouble speaking, articulating words, or using expressive language, due to conditions such as dysarthria or apraxia (motor speech disorders); hoarse vocal quality; complete or partial loss of voice; or aphasia (a language disorder). Your loved one may be taught specific exercises to strengthen the muscles of the face, mouth and throat such as blowing out, sipping in through a straw and making specific sounds like “pa” and “ma”.
Finally, speech-language pathology plays a critical role in the treatment of dysphagia, or swallowing disorder. The treatment of dysphagia is essential in maintaining healthy lungs and avoiding pneumonia.