What Is Speech-Language Pathology?
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, evaluate, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.
- Speech is how we say sounds and words. Speech disorders include difficulty with producing sounds and/or poor intelligibility of speech, voice disorders, and fluency or stuttering disorders.
- Language refers to how we communicate our thoughts, and let others know what we want. Language disorders exist when a person has difficulty understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or written and may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use (pragmatics) of language in functional and socially appropriate ways.
- Social communication disorders occur when a person has trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems following the rules for conversation and storytelling (ie., taking turns in conversation, making appropriate eye contact), adjusting language for your audience, understanding nonliterate or ambiguous language and understanding what is not explicitly stated, and understanding that others may have different perspectives, opinion, interests, and beliefs. All individuals with autism spectrum disorder have social communication problems. Social communication disorders may also be exhibited by individuals with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury.
- Cognitive-communication disorders include problems with orientation, initiation, attention/focus, organizing thoughts, word-finding, memory, literal interpretation, planning, slowed processing of information, and/or problem-solving. These disorders usually occur as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or dementia.
- Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) are feeding and swallowing difficulties, which may follow an illness, surgery, stroke, or injury.
Additionally, SLPs may provide aural rehabilitation and/or auditory training for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing; provide augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for individuals with severe expressive and/or language comprehension disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder or progressive neurological disorders; and work with people who don’t have speech, language, or swallowing disorders, but want to learn how to communicate more effectively (e.g., work on accent modification or other forms of communication enhancement).
Intervention always begins with a comprehensive evaluation to identify the individual’s strengths and areas of need, and establish an individualized plan of care.
At Sound Answers Hearing & Speech, we offer the following services:
- Comprehensive Speech and Language Evaluations
- Fluency Evaluations
- Voice Evaluations
- Clinical Dysphagia (swallowing) Evaluations (adults only)
- Cognitive-Communication Evaluations
- Speech therapy to address deficits in speech, language, fluency, voice, auditory processing, auditory training, and cognitive-communication skills.
- Swallowing therapy (adults only)
A note about Hearing Loss and Cognition
“The general perception is that hearing loss is a relatively inconsequential part of aging,” says Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. But recent findings, he says, suggest that it may play a much more important role in brain health than we’ve previously thought. Studies are showing that treating hearing loss more aggressively can help stave off cognitive decline and dementia.
Studies are also showing that the more severe your hearing loss, the more likely you are to develop dementia. This makes sense- when you struggle to hear, your brain is receiving less stimulation, and you are less likely to socialize in groups. Social isolation has been linked to cognitive decline and dementia. The good news? Wearing hearing aids can reduce your risk and actually improve cognition, especially when combined with auditory rehabilitation!
Diane is dedicated to helping you or your loved ones overcome their speech disorder. Contact Sound Answers Hearing & Speech today to find out how we can help with personalized treatment plans.
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