Words: More Than Just Talk
Words are building blocks of communication. They express our emotions and help communicate our needs. But some people can’t find the words — they have a communication disorder. Disorders can affect their ability to speak or prevent them from understanding. Certified speech-language pathologists are the professionals who identify, evaluate and treat a wide range of speech, language and swallowing disorders.
Disorders Can Affect Anyone
People with communication disorders are young, old and in-between. Their problems may have existed from birth or resulted from disease or accident. Some typical communication disorders include:
Stuttering —the most commonly recognized speech problem, although no one knows exactly what causes it.
Articulation disorders —difficulties making sounds correctly. Like stuttering, these problems often begin in childhood and become life –long challenges. They may occur later in life as a result of stroke, injury or illness
Language disorders —including difficulty making sense of the environment, comprehending spoken language or communicating thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Aphasia —a language disorders caused by stroke, drug use, brain injury or illness. A person with aphasia may be truly at a loss for words—unable to say even his or her own name.
Voice disorders —apparent when people speak too high or too low, or when the quality of voice is affected (such as having a hoarse, breathy or nasal voice).
Cognitive communication disorders —common in adults after head injury or stroke. These disorders make it difficult to think clearly, remember or problem solve.
Swallowing disorders —known as dysphagia. This usually occurs as a result of illness, surgery, stroke or injury. Click here to learn more about VitalStim, Valley's newest treatment for these disorders.
Speech-language pathologists also help people with other challenges:
Augmentative and alternative communication — offering new possibilities for people who cannot speak. Technology offers an array of options, including voice synthesizing computers and communication boards.
Communication enhancement — improving every day communication skills, such as pitch, projection, accent and nonverbal communication.
Speech-Language Professionals Can Help
Treatment for communication and swallowing disorders depends on the problem and its severity. Speech–language pathologists use computer technology, voice or language exercises and other training to help people develop effective communication skills. Speech-language pathologists practice independently and in institutions like rehabilitation centers, hospitals, schools and universities.
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