Why Speech Therapy is Important

Why Speech Therapy?

When people think of speech therapy, they often associate it with a personal history. Maybe their child, parent, family member, or friend received speech therapy at some point in their lives. Based off their experiences, they tend to have an idea of the services provided by speech-language pathologists (SLP); however, they do not truly realize the broad scope of this practice.

Upon meeting potential clients, I am often asked, “Why do I need a speech therapy? My speech is fine.” This is a great question and very common! As a speech-language pathologist, I use this as an opportunity to educate potential and current clients about our profession and how E-Integrated SLP Services can enrich you or your loved one’s quality of life.

About our Profession

Most individuals do not know the extent of education required by our national organization, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), in order to become a certified speech-language pathologist.

To achieve credentials through ASHA, one must possess either a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited program, complete a postgraduate clinical fellowship, and pass the national examination.

The postgraduate clinical fellowship is one aspect among others that differentiates speech-language pathologists from other therapy professions, such as physical and occupational.

Additionally, speech-language pathologists are autonomous and considered experts in identifying, diagnosing, and treating an array of medical diagnosis related to speech, language, cognitive, communication, voice disorders, and feeding/swallowing disorders. As it stands, these skills are vital for children to reach age-appropriate milestones. Likewise, they are vital for adults with a goal to return to their prior level of function regarding activities of daily living.

Serving the Pediatric Population

Speech-language pathologists work with children of all ages, from infants to adolescents. In doing so, they help children achieve age-appropriate developmental milestones via therapeutic techniques geared toward their current delays and/or acquired disorders due to a medical diagnosis.

The most common areas targeted by speech-language pathologists in the pediatric setting include: speech and language delays/disorders, feeding and swallowing (dysphagia), stuttering and fluency, social communication, and voice disorders. Please see below for additional information on these targeted areas:

Speech and Language Therapy:

  • Speech sounds – how individual sounds are produced and strung together.
  • Phonological awareness and processing – the ability to recognize and decode sounds
  • Expressive language – the ability to effectively communicate wants, needs, and thoughts
  • Receptive language – the ability to understand spoken/written word
  • Literacy – how well one reads, spells, and writes

Feeding and Swallowing:

  • Feeding and swallowing- how well food/liquid is accepted, sucked, chewed, and prepared for swallowing; the ability to consume food/liquids without difficulty

Stuttering:

  • Fluency – how well speech flows without “bumpiness”

Social Communication:

  • Pragmatics – ability to follow directions, maintain personal boundaries, and engage in turn-taking skills

Voice Disorders:

  • Voice – sound of the voice, vocal strength, vocal abuse, and vocal hygiene

Serving the Adult Population

Speech-language pathologists work with adults from 20 to over 90 years of age. With the adult population, the targeted areas are similar to that of pediatrics; however, the therapy approach to achieve success is much different. Many adult cases are referred to speech therapy due to an unforeseen diagnosis, such as cerebrovascular accidents (strokes), dementia, traumatic brain injury, progressive neurological impairments (i.e. Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, etc.), various types of cancer, anoxic encephalopathy just to name a few.

In addition, speech therapy addresses those with a history of falls as these individuals tend to exhibit impulsive behaviors, poor safety awareness, and/or the inability to recall and follow the sequence of safe transfers and ambulation.

The goal of therapy is for the client to reach his/her prior level of function and become as independent as possible, therefore, improving quality of life.

The most common areas targeted by speech-language pathologists in the adult setting include: speech and articulation, language, swallowing (dysphagia), stuttering and fluency, social communication, voice disorders, and cognition. Please see below for additional information on these targeted areas:

Speech and Language Therapy:

  • Speech and Articulation – known as motor speech disorders (dysarthria and/or apraxia)
    • Dysarthria – musculature weakness hindering speech intelligibility
    • Apraxia – messages from the brain are not transmitted properly to the articulators in order for an individual to produce normal speech patterns
  • Expressive language – the ability to effectively communicate wants, needs, and thoughts
  • Receptive language – the ability to understand spoken/written word

*Deficits with expressive-receptive language is known as aphasia. Aphasia is an acquired language disorder resulting from cerebrovascular accidents and/or other types of brain injury.

Swallowing (Dysphagia):

  • Dysphagia – breakdown in the normal swallow function increasing the risk of penetration into the vocal folds or aspiration due to debris flowing into the lungs
    1. Can affect any of the 4 swallow phases: oral preparatory, oral, pharyngeal, or esophageal
    2. To learn more, please click the following blog: The Link Between the Swallow Function and Aspiration Pneumonia

Stuttering:

  • Fluency – how well speech flows without “bumpiness”

Social Communication:

  • Pragmatics – ability to follow directions, establish personal boundaries, and demonstrate appropriate turn-taking skills

Voice Disorders:

  • Voice – how a person’s voice sounds, vocal strength, vocal abuse, and vocal hygiene

Cognition:

  • Cognition – anything involving long and short-term memory, problem solving, reasoning, orientation, money management, medication management, and safety awareness

* Without the brain working at its highest capacity, the rest of the body will not be able to sustain long-term function. In many cases, overall decline and risk of subsequent hospitalizations occur with those who do not receive speech therapy services.

E-Integrated SLP Services and Therapy

Our lead speech-language pathologist possesses 14 years of experience providing speech therapy services to both the pediatric and adult population. Our visits will take a client-centered model, ensuring an individualized plan of care along with ongoing education.

We value our clients and strive to provide the highest level of knowledge and tools to achieve age-appropriate milestones for children and restore prior level of function for the adult population. Please contact E-Integrated SLP Services to find out how we can help bridge the gap and improve your life.

adult, e-integrated therapy, pediatric


Michelle Mares

I am credentialed through American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and hold certifications in LVST (Big andLoud), Vital Stim, and E-Stim. Upcoming certifications to include Hanen, for my pediatric clients and their families, and Speak Out & Loud individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

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