Speech therapists, those are the people who spend their time teaching children how to articulate their sounds, but what can they do for adults? Many people know us as the charismatic, children-loving talkers, but in addition to the wonderful services we provide to the pediatric population we also have the trained skill set to treat adults. Here are 5 services you didn’t know speech therapists provide:
1. Aphasia Therapy- aphasia is a communication disorder secondary to damage to specific parts of the brain, typically from strokes. Aphasia may affect listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. The speech therapist evaluates the patient and determines functional goals and strategies for the patient to regain function.
2. Traumatic Brain Injury– a head injury (open or closed) sustained from falls, accidents, assaults, or any blunt head trauma. Speech therapists complete a cognitive-communication evaluation to determine the patient’s attention to tasks, simple problem solving, abstract reasoning, and memory strategies.
3. Dysphagia– refers to a swallowing disorder, which can follow a stroke, a traumatic brain injury, progressive degenerative disease, cancer, and dementia or may occur when there is overall generalized weakness. A speech therapist completes a modified barium swallow study (an x-ray of how food moves down your throat) which identifies the cause of the impairment. Based on the results the speech therapist may elect to utilize, thermal/tactile stimulation, oral motor/laryngeal exercises, vital stimulation, or train safe compensatory strategies.
4. Speaking Valve Trials-once a tracheostomy is placed, a patient is unable to produce audible speech. The speech therapist works with medical team (physician, respiratory therapist) to facilitate trials with a speaking valve. Once valve is placed audible speech may be produced.
5. Augmentative Alternative Communication-is any form of communication other than speech. These include: signing, gestures, symbols/pictures, writing, eye gaze boards, communication board, and communication devices. The speech therapist will evaluate the patient’s ability to utilize skills required for each device/communication board and trial several until one is found that helps the patient express wants and needs.
Did you know that The Therapy SPOT offers adult speech therapy? We do! And, we love it! With several therapists with extensive knowledge and experience in adult speech therapy, our SLPs enjoy working with adults as well as children.
Danielle Carey, M.S., CCC-SLP, became a licensed speech-language pathologist in 2012, treating patients mainly in hospitals and subacute rehab centers with clinical time spent in the public school and at a private practice treating patients ages 2-60+. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders with a minor in child development and family relations from East Carolina University. Danielle received her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Old Dominion University. She is a member of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Danielle received VitalStim certification (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) in 2014 to use for adults with dysphagia (swallowing impairment). She enjoys treating patients ranging from early intervention age through our older adults. Danielle recently joined The Therapy SPOT team and enjoys working there with both children and adults. She is passionate about speech-language pathology and enjoys completing continuing education courses and sharing knowledge with colleagues. Danielle and her husband Jared have one spunky daughter, and love to travel and take her on adventures. In her free time, Danielle enjoys reading, riding horses, cooking, and spending time at the beach.