A Speech-Language Pathologist provides evaluation, treatment and prevention services for infants, children and adults. There are many reasons for speech and language disorders so each individual receiving services at West Coast Speech Language Pathology will be given the service that meets his or her specific need.
- Initial No Charge Consultation
- Speech and Language Assessment
- Speech Therapy (Articulation Therapy)
- Language Therapy
- Oral Motor Therapy
- Fluency Therapy
- Voice Therapy
- Language Processing Therapy
- Social Skills Therapy
INITIAL NO CHARGE CONSULTATION
These visits are provided free of charge and allow the client or parents of the client to discuss their concerns with a speech language pathologist. These visits are approximately 30 minutes in length. During the visit, the speech language pathologist will collect information regarding the nature of the problem and interact with the client to determine whether an assessment is recommended.
EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
Evaluations and assessments are provided to determine what the individual needs to do to improve his/her communication skills. The assessment is the initial phase of the treatment process. The evaluation can include assessment of one or more of the following:
- Articulation (speech sound production),
- Oral motor,
- Pragmatic skills
Depending on the severity of the communication difficulties, the assessment may be completed in one visit or it may require several sessions. Assessment of skills and performance also occurs as an ongoing process during therapy. Initial assessments provide information regarding strengths and weaknesses and allow the speech language pathologist to choose appropriate goals for the client. A report summarizing the results of the assessment will be provided to the family.
SPEECH THERAPY (ARTICULATION THERAPY)
Articulation refers to speech sound production. Sounds that are misarticulated call attention to how the speaker sounds rather than to what he/she is discussing. Misarticulations can include one or more of the following:
- Substitutions: when a different sound is produced instead of the correct sound
- Omissions: the sound is left out of the word
- Distortions: the sound is produced with improper use of airflow or oral mechanics
Articulation disorders can vary from mild substitutions to multiple sound misarticulations. Young children are frequently enrolled in articulation therapy to improve their communication skills.
Language therapy covers a wide range of services. Delayed language in infants and toddlers is one aspect of a therapy program. School-age children may have a specific language impairment, which affects their ability to comprehend reading and other academic material. These children may have effective functional and conversational language but have difficulty with language processing or defining, describing or understanding the vocabulary associated with math, science and other reading comprehension concepts. Adults may have a need for therapy following a stroke that has impaired their ability to use language and speech in the manner utilized prior to the vascular incident. Language therapy may also be necessary for individuals as a result of autism, developmental delay, hearing loss, closed head injury, adult neurogenic communication disorders, or traumatic brain injury. All aspects of language therapy cannot possibly be covered in this brief overview.
ORAL MOTOR THERAPY
The oral mechanism and its functions are addressed in therapy for articulation improvement and swallowing disorders in infants and adults. Children with multiple sound errors or misarticulations may have difficulty with their control of oral motor movements which impacts on adequate sound production. Infants may have a developmental disorder causing difficulty in learning to suck, chew and/or swallow and adults may experience difficulty chewing and swallowing as a result of an illness, stroke or progressive medical condition. In all these instances oral motor training or retraining is a vital part of the therapy process. Each case requires individual assessment to determine where the oral motor difficulties lie.
Voice disorders refer to abnormal pitch, loudness, or vocal quality for the sex, age and status of the speaker. Causes of voice disorders may be organic or functional. Thus, a medical examination and referral prior to initiating therapy is necessary. Any medical condition must be considered before any therapy is implemented.
LANGUAGE PROCESSING THERAPY
Language processing is the ability to attach linguistic meaning of increased complexity to auditory information that is received and to then formulate a response (Richard, 2001). Children with language processing difficulties do not have difficulty hearing and they have normal/near normal basic receptive/expressive language skills. The auditory information is received accurately however the child has difficulty attaching meaning to it as the linguistic difficulty of the task increases.
Richard, G.J. 2001. The Source for Processing Disorders. East Moline, IL, LinguiSystems.
SOCIAL SKILLS THERAPY
Some children have difficulty with pragmatic language. Pragmatic language refers to language in its social sense. It involves not only what is said but also why and for what purpose it is said. Individuals may have good linguistic ability and be able to use a variety of sentence structures that are syntactically, morphologically and semantically correct, but lack the ability to monitor when to most effectively and appropriately use them. Therapy is designed to help the individuals learn how to use language socially.