A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is a medical professional who performs assessments to determine the type of speech therapy an individual needs and then provides that therapy. An SLP is also referred to as a speech therapist.
Issues That Speech Therapists Treat
There are different forms of speech therapy, each type involves the use of approaches and techniques designed to treat specific issues.
Problems that speech-language pathologists can help patients with include:
- Difficulty articulating.
- Stuttering and word cluttering.
- Issues comprehending written and spoken language.
- Trouble solving problems.
- Voice characteristics (vocal tone).
- Memory and attention.
- Swallowing issues resulting from stroke or due to a congenital disorder.
An SLP also provides treatment to individuals who have difficulty hearing or a hearing disorder. Some speech therapists specialize in providing other services, including dialect or accent modification, transgender voice therapy and professional voice development.
There Are 3 Basic Kinds of Speech Impairments
This disorder is related to a brain injury. Dysarthria occurs when the muscles in the mouth, lips, jaws and tongue are unable to function properly because they are too weak to do so.
2. Fluency Disorders and Stuttering
Stuttering, which is also referred to as stammering, is characterized by blocks of pauses, stretching sounds out while speaking and repeating a particular sound. An individual’s stuttering may become worse while experiencing anxiety, as well as when feeling tense or excited.
This disorder is usually caused by a brain injury, stroke or a head injury. Aphasia negatively affects an individual’s ability to express, understand and communicate language properly. Although aphasia is treatable, it cannot be cured.
Speech Therapy Techniques for Children
Speech therapists at Therapeutic Potentials, Inc. (TPI), design children personalized treatment plans.
Jaw, lip and tongue movement exercises can help strengthen the muscles in and around the mouth.
During treatment, the speech-language pathologist helps the child pronounce words by slowly making specific sounds while participating in a variety of fun activities.
A speech therapist talks to the child and uses visual methods (e.g., books, pictures, objects) to help stimulate language development. In addition, the SLP may use repetition exercises.
Swallowing and Chewing Therapy
A child experiencing swallowing and feeding issues can benefit from activities designed to strengthen the muscles in and around the mouth. Children having trouble chewing and swallowing frequently learn strategies that they can use to practice at home.
Speech Therapy Techniques for Adults
The techniques a speech therapist uses for adults differs from those utilized for children.
An adult may experience problems swallowing due to medical issues including Parkinson’s disease, a stroke and mouth cancer. The SLP can use several exercises to help improve his or her ability to swallow.
These exercises may include:
- Phonological Processing
- Sentence Production
- Repetition of Consonant and Vowel Pairing
- Tongue Movement Exercises
Mouth and Facial Exercises
Facial and mouth exercises help with strengthening the oral muscles. Strengthening these muscles can improve the patient’s communication abilities as well as increase his or her confidence level.
Memory activities, problem-solving methods and conversation exercises improve the patient’s communication skills.
Speech therapists may also teach the patient breathing exercises to help solve his or her difficulties with speech.
Without the ability to communicate properly, socializing and expressing oneself can be highly challenging. When a child is having trouble with speech, early intervention is crucial. Otherwise, he or she may fall behind in social skill development. When an adult experiences difficulty communicating, his or her self-esteem may be negatively affected.
The speech therapists at TPI serve people from Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida, as well as those in the surrounding areas. To learn more, contact Therapeutic Potentials, Inc., at 941-758-3140 today or click here to schedule an appointment.