The Role of Speech Therapist

  • Assess and treat communication / Language deficits
  • Areas of Language
  • Expressive: the patient's ability to express themselves
  • Receptive: the patient's ability to understand others
  • Reading: reading comprehension
  • Writing: written expression 

 Areas that affect language

  • Voice
  • Ability to speak loudly and coordinate breathing and phonation
  • Hyperfunctional voice disorders
  • Muscle tension dysphonia
  • Vocal fold paralysis
  • Spasmodic dysphonia
  • Paradoxical vocal fold motion
  • Pre / post laryngectomy
  • Speech intelligibility

The ability to speak clearly

  • Dysarthria of speech: involves - respiration, phonation, rate of speech, and volume
  • Ataxic dysarthria
  • Flaccid dysarthria
  • Stuttering


Swallowing Treatments including Vital Stimulation™

Dysphagia or difficulty swallow can be present in both children and adults.  Some studies indicate that it affects >30% of patients with stroke; 60–80% of patients with neurodegenerative diseases, up to 13% adults aged 65 and older and >51% of institutionalized elderly patients

VitalStim therapy was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2001 for the treatment of dysphagia through the application of neuromuscular electrical stimulation to cervical swallowing muscles (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2007 Jan;116(1):36-44.)


Voice Therapy

Voice disorders can be caused by a variety of disorders and diseases.  More information can be found at the American Speech Language and Hearing Association.

The goal of voice therapy is to help patients attain the best possible voice they can and learn to effectively compensate for the symptoms of their disorder. Your individual goals drive the direction of treatment.  Voice therapy is generally made up of three things:

1. Education about normal and healthy voice, including review of anatomy and physiology of voice.  You will learn how your body makes sound, the difference between voice and speech, and how voice loudness and pitch are controlled. This knowledge will allow you to optimize and protect your healthy voice.

2. You will learn about voice hygiene.  This includes things like adequate water consumption, reducing exposure to voice irritants such as cigarette smoke and/or acid reflux, and finally avoidance of throat-clearing, habitual yelling, or extensive talking when ill.

3. Guided exercises to improve voice production physiology, coordinate breathing, produce sound, and achieve the pitch, loudness and quality of the sound you desire.   You will be taught healthy ways to accomplish these goals.   These exercises will be designed based on the individual needs identified by you Speech Language Pathologist (link Wendy Green bio) in you interview and evaluation.


Modified Barium Swallow

Modified Barium Swallows allow your Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) she what is happening in your mouth and throat when you swallow.  Some of the things your SLP may be observing for are as follows: aspiration or food going into your airway instead of your stomach; what foods are most safe for you to be eating; if certain parts of your mouth and throat are not working well; and finally whether certain positions or strategies might help you swallow more effectively.

During testing you will sit or stand next to the x-ray machine. Your will be given different foods and drinks to swallow, possibly including soft  and hard foods as well thin liquids and thick liquids . These foods will be given in different amounts and you may be asked to move into different positions.  All of these foods and drinks will be mixed with barium. The barium allows the x-ray to see the food and liquid.  The x-ray machine is only turned on while you swallow so you don't get too much radiation.

Your SLP will use you test results to decide what treatment will help your swallowing. The SLP will discuss with you what foods and liquids are safest for you to eat along with the safest positions for you to eat in. You may also do some swallowing therapy soon after the study.

More information on Modified Barium Swallows