Blog Post: February 15th, 2021
Kelci Fett, Speech-Language Pathologist
Speech therapy is more than just learning to say your ‘R’s”. We often think of speech therapy as a service for those who have a speech impairment, such as a child who has a lisp or a stutter. However, there is so much more to the area of speech therapy than just speech. Did you know that in the medical setting, a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) plays a crucial role in treating many patients with various injuries, illnesses, and diseases?
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in individuals of all ages.
As a Speech Pathologist, my day consists of seeing an array of patients. I may begin my day treating an individual who has had a stroke. We may work together to strengthen the muscles used to swallow. We might also explore postural changes to improve the function of their swallow so they will be able to safely enjoy a meal with their family again. We may then switch gears and explore ways in which to make it easier to “get our words out”, so they can have a phone conversation with loved ones in another state.
Next, I may meet with a patient who is a teacher and has recently had surgery. They are noticing changes in their voice and have been hoarse for the past four weeks. Their voice is not strong enough to teach in the classroom. We can work together to implement strategies, exercises, and environmental changes to allow them to get their strong, clear, teacher voice back!
After this, I may see an individual who has noticed that their memory just isn’t what it used to be. We can discuss strategies and changes in routines to make life a bit easier while doing our daily activities. We can help to implement these changes so making it to appointments on time is not a struggle anymore and ease the stress of managing your medications.
I may also see a patient who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. We can work as a team to address the changes in their voice, speech, cognition, and swallowing that come along with Parkinson’s Disease. Our main goal is to improve the quality of life and preserve our function for as long as possible. We all deserve to live a strong, healthy life being able to do what we love!
I might then end my day with a patient who has been battling head and neck cancer. Radiation is finished, and now their voice is weak and they are having difficulty eating and drinking. We work as a team to establish healthy habits, an individualized exercise program, and offer support for ongoing changes associated with the illness. We want to regain as much function as possible.
Are you asking yourself, “Do I need speech therapy?”
Do you have difficulty swallowing? Maybe you have noticed that taking your pills has become more challenging. You might have noticed that you clear your throat or cough more often when eating or drinking. Does it ever feel like you have food stuck in your throat? You might benefit from meeting with a Speech Pathologist to discuss your swallow function.
Have you noticed that you have trouble finding your words? Maybe it is difficult for you to remember important information, such as appointment times or when to take your medications. Perhaps you struggle with understanding what other are asking of you. Has you significant other noticed a change in your voice? Are you speaking more quietly than you used to? Do you see a change in your ability to read and write? You could benefit from a speech therapy evaluation.
As you can see, speech therapy is so much more than just talking. If you have noticed any changes in your speech, language, voice, thinking skills, memory, or swallowing please reach out to our Speech- Language Pathologists. To do so, click here or here to view the profiles of our Speech-Language Pathologists and request an appointment. We are committed to helping all individuals with speech and swallowing disorders live their fullest life!