Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
“But I can talk just fine. Why do I need speech therapy?”
Allison Kampmueller, MA CCC-SLP
Porter Hills Home Care
Click here to view the WZZM Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
This is often the first question that comes from a person when they are told that they may benefit from seeing a Speech Language Pathologist. And, it’s true. That individual probably does talk just fine.
Speech language pathologists (SLPs) work on much more than just speech!
SLPs work in a variety of settings from schools to hospitals to nursing homes, with babies who have just been born to people receiving hospice care, and everyone in between. With these populations, we address speech, language, voice, cognitive-linguistic skills, and swallowing disorders.
- Receptive language – understanding what is said to you
- Expressive language – being able to communicate wants/needs
- Reading and writing, and pragmatic language – appropriate use of social communication and cues to effectively communicate with others). SLPs provide treatment from naming simple items to reading a short story to address these issues
- Cognitive-linguistic skills – thinking, remembering, organizing information, sequencing information, paying and maintaining attention to tasks, and orientation. This may include tasks such as remembering to take medications at the correct time of day, using a calendar or dry erase board to write down important information, and completing tasks like balancing a checkbook or using a computer to email family and friends. There is no one right way to do complete these tasks, but they are essential to maintaining safety in the home.
- Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) – can occur after neurological events, with head trauma, following intubation, or even with normal aging. If aspiration (food or drinks “going down the wrong pipe”) occurs frequently, there is a risk of developing aspiration pneumonia. SLPs can help to strengthen the complex system of swallowing muscles, teach strategies for reducing the risk of aspiration, and teach modifications of diet if necessary, such as changing the texture and consistency of foods or drinks.
Speech can be impacted due to diseases like stroke or Parkinson’s disease, or from a brain injury.
SLPs help people learn strategies to increase their intelligibility and articulation from single words to conversation. We also teach exercises for strengthening muscles in the lips, tongue, and face to improve speech.
Voice is commonly impacted by neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.
People with Parkinson’s disease often experience their voices changing, being quieter and more mumbled. Voice treatment focuses on increasing volume and intelligibility in a variety of settings to improve communication.
Speech Language Pathologists are an important part of the rehab team and work in conjunction with physical and occupational therapy, nursing, physicians, and aides, just to name a few. You might talk just fine, but there are so many other things that an SLP might be able to help with.
American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA) website has a lot of resources for families and caregivers.
For more information, or to schedule a visit with a
Porter Hills Home Care Speech Language Pathologist,
please call 616-949-5140.