Difficulty speaking or understanding spoken language can make life difficult for older adults, and it may even restrict their ability to function. Proper treatment for language-related defects or diseases, including voice, speech, and writing issues, can help improve quality of life and increase independence. In order to help you or your loved one with language and speech issues, we at Senior Care Centers offer expert speech-language pathology services.
Definition of Speech-Language Pathology
Speech-language pathology is defined as the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders or defects of the voice, speech, language interpretation, or written language. It utilizes specialized techniques and devices to treat language-related issues. A speech-language pathologist, or SLP, has extensive education and training in working with these disorders and defects. SLPs are also often referred to as speech and language therapists or simply speech therapists.
Well-trained SLPs help individuals with a variety of linguistic issues, including the following:
- Cognitive communication disorders: Issues with problem-solving, attention, monitoring one’s own speech, abstract reasoning, memory, and awareness are all cognitive areas of communication. Treatment depends on the exact nature of the difficulty and its root cause.
- Auditory processing disorders: If an individual has difficulty understanding spoken language but does not have a hearing problem, then his or her brain is likely experiencing difficulty processing sounds, words, and phrases. An SLP can help with auditory processing difficulties through teaching special techniques to make auditory processing easier or helping provide an environment that helps the individual.
- Articulation and voice disorders: The inability to speak words correctly or control the voice can be handled with an SLP’s help. A speech language pathologist can also help improve fluency for individuals who stutter.
- Swallowing disorders: Not only do SLPs help with speech and language, they also help people with swallowing disorders.
- Aphasia: Language difficulties that are caused by damage to the brain – such as from a stroke – can be treated through therapy and rehabilitation.
- Severe communication disorders: Some disorders can be overcome by using special devices and methods, such as speech-generating devices or sign language. Such devices and methods, referred to generally as augmentative and alternative communication systems (AACs), can help individuals communicate who wouldn’t normally be able to do so.
The methods that speech-language pathologists use to treat language- and swallowing-related problems depend on the type of disease or disorder present as well as its cause. Often, therapy and rehabilitation are the answer, though special communication methods and systems are also used.
Speech-language pathologists are highly educated professionals. In order to work in speech-language pathology, they must have a Master’s degree and participate in continuing education. They also mentor and train assistants and future SLPs.
SLPs work with other professionals to provide whatever care a given individual may need. They can work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and hospices.
At Senior Care Centers, we have highly qualified nurses and staff, including speech language pathologists. We can provide you or your loved one with language-related support and therapy while also helping maintain a healthy, comfortable, and independent lifestyle. For more information on what options we offer, contact us.