Speech therapy – helping you to say what you mean

You had a stroke. Fortunately, you seem to have recovered well.  But you have difficulty in understanding what people around you are saying sometimes, or perhaps you can’t seem to find the words you want to say. Your brain seems to have forgotten how to do these things.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. As people age, normal changes occur in their speech, language, memory, and swallowing. In addition, their chances of having a stroke or developing dementia or Parkinson's disease increase, as do the chances of acquiring a communication or swallowing disorder related to these diseases.

The speech-language pathologists at Blue Sky Therapy play an important role in working with patients who experience this disorder.  Speech-language pathologists — SLPs — can assist in differentiating between normal aging and disordered communication or swallowing function. They provide vital services to those individuals whose communication, cognitive, or swallowing impairments are due to illness, trauma, or disease.  This is what we call “speech therapy.”

Simply put, speech therapy is simply a method to help people with speech and language problems to speak more clearly. In the case of the elderly, therapy often follows a trauma such as stroke or a fall that affects a patient’s ability to use language.

Speech Therapy focuses on receptive language, or the ability to understand words spoken to you, and expressive language, or the ability to use words to express yourself. It also deals with the mechanics of producing words, such as articulation, pitch, fluency, and volume. 

The professional in charge of your speech therapy — variously called a speech-language pathologist or speech therapist or any combination of these words — will work to find activities to strengthen your areas of weakness. Treatment for the elderly after a stroke can include art therapy, singing, group therapy, associating words with pictures and other techniques to stimulate and promote re-establishing neurological connections within the brain for communication.

Blue Sky’s speech-language pathologists work with people who cannot produce speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly, and with those with language disorders — problems understanding and producing language; and those with cognitive communication impairments, such as attention, memory and problem-solving disorders.

A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds; a language disorder refers to difficulty in understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.

Speech disorders include:

  • Articulation disorders: difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners can't understand what's being said.
  • Fluency disorders: problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).
  • Resonance or voice disorders: problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what's being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for the speaker.
  • Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders: these include difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing, such as increased coughing while eating and/or drinking, trouble taking medications, runny nose or watery eyes when eating are all signs and symptoms of a swallowing disorder.

With the speech therapist’s skills, and the patient’s determination to improve, there’s no limit to the improvements that can be seen!

We at Blue Sky Therapy are ready to assist your therapy – we’re the experts!

Blue Sky Therapy has a continued commitment to patient-driven quality, excellence, integrity and innovation in everything that we do. That’s why we are scrupulous about planning the treatment of each and every client, and carefully documenting the outcome!

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Blue Sky disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Resources

American Speech-Hearing-Language Association

Princeton Review

Redlands College

Healthline