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What Is Speech Therapy?

What Is Speech Therapy?

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month – the perfect time to talk about an important health care field of expertise – speech therapy!

Speech therapy specializes in the assessment and treatment of various types of communication, speech, and swallowing disorders. It is administered by speech-language pathologists (SLPs), who are also called speech therapists.

“The way we communicate with our friends and family is with our sounds, and being able to create clear, strong sounds is very important,” said Erica LaGruth, Director of Rehabilitation at Christian Health’s Bolger Short-Term Rehab. “Not just for communicating with our family and friends, but for conducting business on the phone, ordering our favorite meal at a restaurant over a din of noise, or cheering on our kids and grandkids at their soccer games.”

Speech therapy techniques include articulation therapy, language intervention therapy, and facial, breathing, and swallowing exercises. “Speech therapists are experts in vocal sound production, as well as memory, cognition, and swallowing!” said Erica.

What Does Speech Therapy Treat?

Speech therapy can benefit anyone with a communication disorder. A health care provider might also recommend speech therapy for individuals with a hearing impairment or health issue that makes swallowing difficult.

Conditions treated with speech therapy include:

  • Aphasia: People with aphasia may have trouble reading, writing, speaking, or understanding language. Aphasia usually develops after a stroke or injury damages the part of the brain that processes language.
  • Apraxia: Those with apraxia know what they want to say but have trouble forming the correct word to say it. They may have trouble reading and writing, swallowing, or using other motor skills.
  • Articulation disorders: People with articulation disorders cannot produce certain sounds, such as an “s” sound “or an “r” sound. A lisp is an example of an articulation disorder.
  • Cognitive-communication disorders: People with cognitive-communication disorders may have issues with listening, speaking, remembering, and problem solving. Causes include dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Dysarthria: People with dysarthria experience slow or slurred speech due to the muscles that control speech becoming weak. Causes include stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or other nervous system disorders.
  • Expressive disorders: People with expressive disorders may have difficulty speaking or expressing their thoughts properly. Causes include stroke or other neurological issues, developmental delays, or hearing loss.
  • Fluency disorders: Those with fluency disorders experience disruptions to the speed and flow of their speech, such as stuttering.
  • Receptive disorders: People with receptive disorders may have trouble understanding language, following directions, or communicating. Causes include developmental disorders such as autism, brain injury, or disease.
  • Resonance disorders: Resonance disorders affect oral or nasal cavities, restricting airflow and altering the vibrations that help us to hear sounds properly. Causes include cleft palate, swollen tonsils, and other conditions that affect the structure of the mouth and nose.

Speech Therapy at Bolger Short-Term Rehab

If you would like to learn more about speech therapy at Bolger Short-Term Rehab, located on our primary campus in Wyckoff, please call (201) 848-5855. Our highly qualified and licensed speech therapists provide comprehensive treatment options for a variety of speech, language, and swallowing problems.