Aspen Rehab additionally provides specialized therapeutic intervention, tailored to an individual’s speech (Abbreviated ST), language, or swallowing needs. These interventions may include: advanced oral-motor treatments, neuromuscular reeducation, functional computer retraining, intensive voice programs and traditional ST techniques.
Speech/ Language and Cognitive Disorders
Dysarthria, or a weakness of the muscles controlling articulation and apraxia, a motor speech disorder may occur subsequent to brain damage. Specialized techniques are carefully selected to retrain the affected muscles and/or “assist the brain” in arriving at the right target sounds, so that the patient will be most understandable to others.
Aphasia, or “loss of language” can affect a person’s ability to communicate on many different levels. Expressive aphasia marks difficulty in finding words, formulating phrases and sentences. This can additionally affect writing ability. Receptive aphasia describes difficulty with understanding language.This may include reading skills and recognizing visual stimuli. A speech-language pathologist assists in maximizing expressive and receptive abilities so that there is an ease of interaction between a patient and their communication partner(s).
Cognitive issues (language-based) may include addressing orientation skills, short term memory deficits and judgment, reasoning and problem solving issues. Functional tasks are targeted that will positively affect the patient’s daily activities.
The voice is a powerful tool, yet there is a lot that can go wrong that may affect its “power”. Extensive background history and successful management are key to progression. A highly trained voice therapist will analyze areas of posture, breath support, pitch, rate, volume, rate and resonance. Voice retraining programs address various disorders of the vocal cords and related areas.
Examples of Various Voice Disorders:
- Laryngeal Trauma – Either as a result of misuse/abuse of the voice or trauma to the regions of neck
- Neurogenic Dysphonia – Resulting from nerve lesions or disease to the vocal folds or surrounding areas
- Congenital Dysphonia – Resulting from masses or lesions or structural abnormality to the vocal folds or surrounding areas
- Spasmodic Dysphonia – When vocal folds are open or closed too much, affecting the vibration pattern for speaking. Patients have a strained or “squeezed” quality. It is an effort to gain loudness.
- Laryngectomy – Total or partial removal of the larynx.
Swallowing may seem like a simple task, since it is typically automatic, however, it is actually complex, involving varied nerves and muscles. Dysphagia or impaired swallowing, can affect oral, pharyngeal and/or esophageal stages. Some examples of medical diagnoses that may have dysphagia as a characteristic symptom are: CVA or stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, (aspiration) pneumonia, tracheostomy, laryngectomy and dehydration. A swallow specialist targets reducing a person’s risk of aspiration (foreign mattter passing through the vocal cords) and assisting in maintaining their nutritional status. Speech/swallow therapy addresses texture modification (least restrictive food/liquid consistency that a person can tolerate), compensatory strategies for safety and therapeutic exercises for strength, movement and coordination of the related muscles.