What is Speech Therapy?
Speech Therapy, formally called Speech-Language Pathology, can include a variety of services all provided by a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist, informally called Speech Therapy. Services can include speech and language therapy to help young children begin to speak, improve the way their speech sounds and help them build social relationships with other children. Speech and Language Therapy can also help children with skills they need to learn in the classroom such as attention, executive function skills, understanding what is said to them or putting their thoughts into words.
Speech Therapists also work with adults. Adult Speech and Language Therapy many times takes place after an accident or an injury leaves the adult with decreased ability to think or communicate. This can be the product of a Stroke, which can lead to Aphasia, a neurodegenerative disease such as ALS or Alzheimer’s Disease or an acquired motor speech problem that impacts an adult’s ability to make sounds properly. Adults and children can suffer from a Traumatic Brain Injury and benefit from intensive Speech Therapy to improve their ability to think and communicate.
Speech Therapy at Leigh Brain & Spine involves more than a traditional therapy approach of performing exercises to strengthen the weak skill. The brain-based approach includes assessment by Dr. Cosmas Leigh, D.C., using qEEG Brain Mapping to view brain performance patterns and then works to correct the improper functioning of the brain to reduce symptoms through Neurofeedback Therapy.
What Do They Do in Speech Therapy?
During Speech Therapy sessions, the Speech-Language Pathologist will work on the very specific skills that you need to improve upon. For example, if you have difficulty making the movements of the tongue, mouth, and teeth for certain sounds, the therapist will show you how to make the sounds and give you exercises to practice at home. If your child is not talking, the therapist will show you strategies to help your child begin talking and to further the communication once it starts. If you have memory problems, the therapist will do memory exercises with you to improve your memory and give you compensatory strategies to help you remember what you need to in the meantime. Science shows that the more specific the therapeutic techniques, the faster and better your outcomes will be.
At Leigh Brain and Spine, Speech Therapy includes brain-based techniques and strategies that have been proven, through Science, to be most effective in helping people reach their goals.
What is Speech Therapy Used For?
Speech Therapy is used for developmental delays and disabilities such as ADHD, Autism, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Expressive Language, Receptive Language issues, writing and reading challenges. Speech Therapy is essential following a Brain Injury to bring thinking and communication back to where it was before the injury. Acquired speech and language problems such as Apraxia and Aphasia benefit from Speech Therapy. Following a Stroke or onset of a neurodegenerative disease such as ALS, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Disease, Speech Therapy can help to preserve quality of life for a longer time frame.
Are There Different Types of Speech Therapy?
Yes. Many people use the term “Speech Therapy” to encompass a very wide set of skills that a Speech-Language Pathologist can help with. There are different types of speech and language therapy depending upon the problems that a person has.
What Are the Types of Speech Therapy?
Speech Therapy is concerned mostly with improving the sounds of the words and sentences that a person makes. It is focused on clarity of speech in most cases. For example, if a child has an Articulation Disorder or a Phonological Disorder, he may be difficult to understand. Stuttering is a speech problem that a Speech Therapist can help with. The Speech Therapist works with the child to improve his ability to make sounds and be understood. Speech Therapy is also very important for people who suffer from a brain injury, or those who have motor speech problems such as Dysarthria, Apraxia, and Dyspraxia that come on later in life.
Language is different from speech, but most people do not understand how. Language is your ability to use the code (language) that you speak. It is the ability to understand what is said to you by others and the ability to form your thoughts into outward communication that can be understood by others. This can be in the form of speech, writing, Sign Language, or other non-traditional ways of communicating such as using a computer, called Augmentative and Assisted Communication (AAC). Adults who suffer a stroke can get a language problem called Aphasia. Aphasia makes it difficult for people to understand or say what they want to. Alzheimer’s can affect a person’s language skills also.
Cognitive means thinking. A Speech Therapist can help children and adults with their thinking skills also. Executive Function Disorder can make it difficult for people to stay organized, make plans and then follow through. ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorders impact executive functioning as well as impulse control, attention, and emotional regulation. A Speech Therapist can be very helpful in helping people learn these skills.
Many children with developmental delays and disabilities struggle to act appropriately which hinders their ability to make friendships and have good relationships with others. Children with ADHD, Autism, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and other challenges really struggle with social skills. A Speech Therapist helps the child to learn these skills in order to heave better relationships with their families, friends, and at school.
Following a stroke or brain injury a person may have difficulty chewing a swallowing food. This can lead to choking or food going into the lungs, called aspiration, instead of the stomach. This can be very dangerous for a person and can cause serious health problems. A Speech-Language Pathologist is imperative in helping the person to improve their swallowing skills and modifying their food consistency to make sure they can eat in a healthy way. This problem is called Dysphagia and can also affect people with neurodegenerative disease such as ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, and in some cases Alzheimer’s Disease.
Voice Therapy is primarily concerned with helping people use their vocal folds properly to generate sound. Some people struggle with vocal fold tension or weakness, called Dysphonia, and therapy can help them use their vocal folds better for a clearer voice. Others may have injured their vocal folds through shouting or singing and need to learn how to use their voice in a healthy way. In this case callouses, called Vocal Nodules, or blisters, called Polyps, may form on the person’s vocal folds as a result of abuse or misuse of the vocal folds. This is very common in performers and singers. A Speech Therapist can play a pivotal role in helping that person get rid of the blisters and callouses and learn to use their voice in a healthy way so as not to get them again.
You do not have to have a problem to work with a Speech-Language Pathologist. Many people in the public eye or in business work with Speech Therapists to perfect the way that they communicate in public. People who are considered “Peak Performers” will invest in their personal development by getting help with their interaction skills. Like any muscle, the more you exercise it with professional feedback, the better it gets. CEOs, singers, actors, and top business people want to become the best communicators the can using all the types of therapy listed above.
Who Performs Speech Therapy?
Speech Therapy is provided by highly trained licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologists. All Speech Pathologists are not the same though. So, if you are looking to work with a therapist, make sure she or he is a good fit for your needs. There are different types of Speech Therapy that you can read about below. All Speech-Language Pathologists have the same initial training, which includes a Master’s degree, however, many Speech Therapists continue to acquire highly specialized training in a specific area of expertise. When you are looking for a therapist make sure their specialization meets your needs.
What is a Speech Therapy Assessment Like?
During a traditional Speech Therapy assessment the Speech-Language Pathologist will have a battery of tests ready for you to perform based upon your history. The tests will be very specific to the problems that you are experiencing. There may be speech tests that look at your mouth’s ability to make the sounds, language tests that test your ability to comprehend and formulate ideas, or memory tests to assess thinking. Only tests that are needed to figure out how to best help you will be used. The tests are designed to give the Speech Therapists as much information as possible to help you get better. The assessment usually takes between 1 and 2 hours.
At Leigh Brain and Spine, in addition to a traditional speech and language assessment, qEEG Brain Mapping is used to view and interpret the brain patterns that you are using that are at the root of your speech and language problems. Once the brain patterns have been identified, then the areas of your brain that need improved functioning can be isolated and addressed to work better. When your brain works better, your symptoms go away. Your brain can then be exercised either through traditional speech and language therapy, brain-based therapies, such as Neurofeedback Therapy, or a combination of the two.