Speech language pathology focuses on disorders that affect a person's speech, language, cognition, voice or swallowing.
Speech language pathologists (SLP) help people with speaking, swallowing, cognitive difficulties and language. They can perform evaluations and deliver speech therapy.
Speech language pathologists treat hospital patients who may have had stroke, brain injury, cognitive impairment, swallowing disorders and head/neck cancer. They can help with communication using special techniques and equipment.
Speech language pathologists:
- Evaluate the patient's swallowing, communication, cognition, speech and language based on the patient's individual needs.
- Identify issues such as dysphagia (swallowing problems), memory loss and speech/language deficits that can affect both speaking and understanding of language.
- Design a treatment plan that addresses a patient's impairments to help the patient live a better quality life with greater safety and independence
Treatment may include:
- Techniques designed to improve speaking and understanding of language
- Prognosis and recommendations for patients with cognitive (memory or thinking) problems and/or dysphagia (swallowing problem)
- Communication technology and techniques (including the Passy Muir speaking valve) for clients with tracheostomy; augmentative tools for patients who are unable to speak; and tools for patients who have had a laryngectomy to help them produce sound
- Providing clients with home programs
- Advocacy for the patient when quality of life decisions are being made
- Education for patients, families and clinical team members about specific disorders and the treatment plan and prognosis
- Referrals to other specialists if needed
- Pre-surgery counseling and communication with the surgeon for patients with laryngectomies or other throat surgeries