How Speech Language Pathology can improve your life

November 08, 2022

Physical Therapy Wellness
Female speech therapist assisting young African American girl

Speech-language pathologists are healthcare professionals with specialized training and expertise in improving your ability to communicate, think, eat and drink. Their services are vital to your independence, happiness and health.

“Communication is critical at every stage of your life to your independence and your ability to advocate for yourself,” says Amy Havasy, MS, CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist at Patriots Colony at Williamsburg. “Eating and drinking provide hydration, nutrition and socialization. If you can’t enjoy eating, you take away one of life’s greatest pleasures. A speech-language pathologist can help give you back your life.”

What conditions do speech-language pathologists treat? 

Speech-language pathologists treat a wide range of conditions that affect your ability to communicate, think and swallow. They see people of all ages, from infants to seniors, who have experienced conditions such as:

  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Developmental disorders
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Speech and swallowing problems associated with head and neck cancer
  • Voice problems 
  • Swallow problems
  • Chronic cough and breathing problems

 Where do speech-language pathologists provide care?

Speech-language pathologists often go to their patients, providing care in convenient settings such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Inpatient rehabilitation facilities 
  • Skilled nursing facilities 
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Residential homes
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Schools
  • Home health 

How do speech-language pathologists treat communication and swallowing problems?

Speech-language pathologists start by thoroughly evaluating your abilities and your medical history. These evaluations help them create patient-specific treatment plans that address your needs. 

Your treatment plan may include safe, noninvasive options, such as:

  • Exercises to improve the muscles involved in eating, speaking and swallowing
  • Recommendations on ways to make you safer when you eat, such as altering the texture of the food or changing the way you eat 
  • Technology to help you communicate, from picture boards to speech-generating devices
  • Strategies to keep your voice healthy
  • Techniques to improve cognition, such as using to-do lists or reducing distractions
  • Teaching you signs or gestures to communicate your thoughts and needs

Find speech-language pathology services 

If you are experiencing issues with speaking or swallowing, Havasy has one message for you: don’t ignore it.

“We’ve seen a lot of miraculous things through skilled intervention,” says Havasy. “According to research, 84% of patients with cognitive, communication or swallowing disorders make progress with speech-language pathology services.” 

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