SPEECH & LANGUAGE THERAPY
Definition: Speech-language therapists are educated to assess speech and language development and to treat speech and language, as well as swallowing disorders.
Speech-language therapists are also educated to assess and treat children with delayed or deviant language development, disfluencies (stuttering), articulation problems and auditory processing difficulties.
Who would benefit from speech therapy?
A speech-language therapist deals with the evaluation and treatment of patients with speech-, language and/or swallowing difficulties caused by one or more of the following:
- Closed head injury
- Neurological conditions, e.g. Parkinson’s disease
- Head and neck surgery
- Congenital defects
- Deviant or delayed speech and language development
In patients who have had a stroke or head injury, the speech-language therapist can help determine the nature of the person’s language, speech and/or swallowing impairment and assist with therapy for improvement of communicative and swallowing abilities.
The speech-language therapist is concerned with improvement of the following:
- Inhibition of primitive oral reflexes, e.g. biting, which can occur after a severe brain injury
- Optimisation of oral functions for speech and feeding by providing passive and active oral-facial exercises.
- Swallowing and feeding by providing exercises for the specific swallowing deficit and feeding therapy.
- The use of language for communication by facilitating improvement of receptive (comprehension) and expressive (speaking) language either verbally or by means of an assisting communicative device.
- The improvement of the use of language for higher cognitive skills, e.g. reasoning and problem solving.