The speech language pathologist works with patients who have problems expressing and understanding language, as well as patients who have a swallowing disorder known as dysphagia. Speech therapy may involve the evaluation and treatment of auditory comprehension, verbal expressions, reading and writing skills, speech skills, memory, problem solving, reasoning, organization, and executive functioning skills.
Swallowing therapy may involve modifying the consistency of food or liquid, and teaching the patient and family special techniques and exercises to compensate for swallowing deficits, which allows him or her to eat and/or drink safely.
Cognitive and Communication Groups
Cognitive and Communication Groups are run periodically by the Speech-language Pathologists to target orientation, memory, social interaction, speech/language, and thinking skills.
Swallow Group Therapy
Swallowing Group therapy occurs weekdays at 8:30a.m. Each Speech-Language Pathologist monitors up to 4 patients during the breakfast meal to ensure that their diet consistency is tolerated and that the patients are utilizing their swallow strategies during a meal.
The Modified Barium Swallow test is a video x-ray of the swallow to visualize how the swallow muscles move and coordinate to determine the safest means of nutrition. The speech language pathologist will determine if/when an MBS is appropriate and complete the test with a physiatrist as needed.
The Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing includes the passing of a small camera through the nasal passage by a trained Speech Pathology to visualize the throat structures involved in the swallowing process. The Speech Pathologist will determine if/when a FEES is appropriate and complete as needed.
Neuromuscular Electrical-stimulation for Dysphagia
A speech language pathologist, trained and certified by the VitalStim® program, determines if/when the patient would benefit from neuromuscular electrical stimulation treatment to improve swallow function. Treatment includes the placement of small electrodes that provide a small current of electrical stimulation to the key muscles for swallowing. This is coupled with tradition neuromuscular re-education therapy (swallow exercises) for swallow deficits to improve swallow function.