Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is the treatment done for disorders and problems associated with language, speech, cognition, voice disorders and swallowing. Speech therapy is provided by speech-language pathologists (SLPs), also known as speech therapists.

An articulation disorder is a kind of speech disorder where individuals face difficulties articulating some definite types of sounds. It mainly involves substituting one sound for another, indistinct speech, or demeaning of speech. In simple words, articulation means making speech sounds by manipulating articulators in a particular way for sharing thoughts.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) defines cognitive communication disorders as difficulty with any aspect of communication that is affected by disruption of cognition. Some examples of cognitive processes include attention, memory, organization, problem solving/reasoning, and executive functions. Problems in these areas can affect verbal and nonverbal communication. For instance, speaking, listening, reading, writing, and pragmatic (social interaction) skills may be affected negatively. Problems with cognitive communication can affect activities of daily living, and academic and work performance.

The ability to safely swallow is essential for adequate nutrition and hydration and preventing food from entering your lungs. Swallowing is a complex act that involves coordinated movement of muscles that make up three primary phases of swallowing: oral phase (mouth), pharyngeal phase (throat) and esophageal phase (food tube). When there is a problem in one or more of these phases, it is called dysphagia.

A language disorder is impaired comprehension and/or use of spoken, written and/or other symbol systems. The disorder may involve (1) the form of language (phonology, morphology, syntax), (2) the content of language (semantics), and/or (3) the function of language in communication (pragmatics) in any combination.

LSVT has been an effective way to treat the symptoms of impaired voice and swallowing from Parkinson’s Disease (called LSVT-LOUD). In 2002, the LSVT-BIG protocol was initiated, as a research-based exercise approach to be given by specially trained speech therapists. Patients are shown specific exercises that involve large amplitude, exaggerated movement patterns, leading to smoother, larger, safer movements and improved quality of life.

At least one-fourth of all stroke survivors experience language impairments, involving the ability to speak, write, and understand spoken and written language. In right-handed individuals these strokes usually involve the left side of the brain. A stroke-induced injury to any of the brain’s language-control centers can severely impair verbal communication and cognition.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Traumatic impact injuries can be defined as closed (or non-penetrating) or open (penetrating). Speech Therapy focuses on the improvement of memory, attention to task, executive functioning, reasoning, and social skills.

Voice rehabilitation consists of techniques and procedures that target vocal parameters, such as vocal fold closure, pitch, volume, and quality. This therapy is provided by speech-language pathologists and is primarily used to aid in the management of voice disorders, or for altering the overall quality of voice, as in the case of transgender voice therapy.

I am Jennifer Greca (she/her), a Speech Language Pathologist that has seventeen years of experience with voice therapy. Gender-affirming voice therapy is now being offered at our clinic. Voice is a crucial part of our identity, emotional expression. Voice is how we make connections with others, and communicate our wants, needs, ideas, emotions, values, and beliefs. Voice therapy assists the participant with discovering and exploring a voice that they wish to achieve and identify with.

I look forward to offering this service to our community, and supporting individuals in affirming their voices.

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