One of the greatest human abilities is to communicate. Our voice and speech connect us to each other and express our character. Communication disorders may range from stuttering to complete inability to use speech and language for communication. Communication difficulty can occur as a result of:
- Head and neck cancer
- Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS / Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Alzheimer’s and other dementias
- Stroke, brain tumor or head injury Pediatric developmental delays
- Voice disorders including spasmodic dysphasia and chronic hoarseness
- Other medical conditions
Our Speech and Swallowing Rehab is led by our highly qualified speech pathology team. The therapists work with you to create a treatment program specifically tailored to you and your needs. Licensed speech-language pathologists offer individual treatment, education, counseling and follow-up for communication and swallowing difficulty. State-of-the-art techniques and proven methods such as the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) – LOUD program for Parkinson’s disease are also available.
The medical term for swallowing difficulty is “dysphagia” and it can affect as many as one in three adults as they age. It can be a symptom or result of a medical condition, such as stroke. Swallowing disorders not only cause difficulty eating or drinking but may also create problems with chewing, or choking from having food “go down the wrong way.” In today’s world, which revolves around food and eating, swallowing problems can lead to depression, social isolation and health risks such as malnutrition, weight loss, dehydration or aspiration pneumonia.
Dysphagia treatment or intervention starts with a comprehensive evaluation to determine the reason for the swallowing difficulty. Treatment is based on the specific swallowing concerns and may include an exercise regimen, use of specific head and neck postures, as well as a diet of specific food textures and liquid thickness to keep swallowing as safe as possible. In some instances, particular people may benefit from electrical stimulation to produce a stronger swallow.
Our speech-language pathologists conduct pediatric feeding evaluations when infants and young children experience feeding difficulties or food aversions. These evaluations can help determine the following:
- The most appropriate type of nipple that adjusts the flow rate for safe swallowing and coordinated breathing
- The best feeding position for a newborn
- Ways to introduce different food textures that allow the child to get used to new sensations in their mouth.
Health Quest speech-language and swallowing professionals work collaboratively with our physical and occupational therapy teams to provide a seamless program to help you communicate and swallow within the range of your ability and to restore speech, communication and swallowing as much as possible.