Speech-language pathologists (SLP) work to prevent, evaluate, diagnose and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. A speech therapist can help adults with stuttering problems by overcoming their situational fears and practicing methods to minimize stuttering. You may have difficulty enunciating or finishing certain sounds, and the therapist will show you how to overcome this problem when you speak. Speech/language pathology is the study and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders.
Both children and adults can develop conditions that prevent them from articulating sounds, expressing or understanding language, improving fluency, or swallowing properly. When swallowing becomes a challenge, patients are at risk of malnutrition, dehydration, suffocation, infections and respiratory problems. The American Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific and accrediting association with 223,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language and hearing scientists; support staff in audiology and speech-language pathology; and students. This may include cognitive exercises, such as visualization techniques to increase attention and memory; sentence generation tasks to improve vocabulary and word retrieval, or vocal exercises to improve speech clarity.
The goal of speech-language pathology is to understand the mechanisms of speech and swallowing, and to use that understanding to improve patients' lives. To contextualize the impact of this field, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), more than three million people in the United States have problems with stuttering, while five percent of children have speech disorders in the first grade. Adults with apraxia may struggle to pronounce words correctly, have errors and inconsistencies in speech, and constantly fumble for the right words. Many adults postpone or ignore the need to seek support because they think it's too late to benefit from speech therapy.
Whether you're looking to improve the clarity of your speech, modify your accent, or improve your professional skills, there's a talented speech therapist waiting to connect with you. Acquired speech apraxia is another type of neurologically based speech disorder that can occur after a neurological injury, such as stroke, or a progressive condition, such as dementia. Speech therapists can help patients improve their communication skills and help them with tongue and throat disorders. This can affect swallowing, chewing and speaking, so a speech therapist can help you recover those movements or learn alternative movements.
Speech therapy may also benefit adults who are recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury, or who are struggling with a degenerative disease, such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease. It's never too late to seek support and work to achieve your goals, and online speech therapy can benefit adults in a number of ways. For most people, speech and language may seem like simple skills that develop naturally with few complications.