The Speech Language Pathologist works with individuals who have difficulty communicating, interacting with others, and problems chewing or swallowing food. They work with all age ranges, pediatric through geriatric, with a variety of primary diagnoses.
Questions to consider for referral to an SLP:
- Does/will the patient have difficulty –
- Participating or following a conversation?
- Expressing needs, wants, and thoughts or experiencing interaction fully with others (i.e. hearing loss, cognitive impairments, voice problems, message formulation problems)?
- Following along with a conversation and/or contributing to a conversation?
- Providing accurate Yes/No answers or following directions?
- Retrieving words or finding the names for commonly used words?
- Following a daily routine?
- Breathing and/or coordinating breathing with eating, swallowing, or speech (i.e. COPD, tracheostomy)?
- Is the patient’s functioning expected to deteriorate (i.e. degenerative disease)?
- Is the patient on an altered diet (i.e. food texture, liquid consistency) but has potential to increase overall strength or has cognition improved?
- Does the patient have structure differences that impact movement of the face, mouth, neck, chest (i.e. head/neck cancer, laryngectomy, paralysis/paresis)?
- Does the patient have a history of pneumonia?
It is important that patients begin receiving therapy as soon as possible but therapy can be beneficial any time during recovery. The SLP’s role is to help the patient with communication and swallowing deficits that may occur. These may include:
- Dysphagia – difficulty swallowing, mostly when eating or drinking.
- Receptive Aphasia – difficulty understanding language and what others are saying.
- Expressive Aphasia – difficulty speaking or saying the right word.
- Dysarthria – difficulty forming sounds and words due to weak muscles (talks too soft, slurred words, inappropriate pitch, breathy vocal quality, strained voice).
- Apraxia – difficulty with coordination to produce speech (e.g. effortful speech).
- Reading and Writing – difficulty reading or writing.
- Memory Loss – difficulty remembering current or past events, appointments, names of objects and people, participation in activities of daily living, etc.
Patients may experience one or more of these at the same time.
Patients may have issues with cognitive skills (thinking, understanding, learning, and memory functions). A SLP can help by implementing language strategies and/or coping skills such as:
- Retraining word retrieval – helping the patient remember words & communicate with others.
- Memory Log – writing in a journal to help with remembering daily activities.
- Organizer – using a calendar to help remember appointments, birthdays, special events, etc.
- Self-monitoring – regulating one’s behavior to accommodate social situations and respond to social cues in the hospital, home, and community.
Speech-language pathologists also work with patients who have difficulty swallowing by:
- Changing consistency of the patient’s food and liquids.
- Positioning the patient in different ways while he/she is eating and drinking.
- Using different feeding techniques.
Please call 218-666-6225 for an appointment today.