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speech therapist working with elderly stroke patient

What Does a Speech Therapist Do for an Adult?  

While you may think of a speech therapist as somebody who helps kids overcome stutters and lisps, their scope of practice goes far beyond speech development and refinement in youth. In fact, speech and language pathologists are an important part of your rehabilitation team at Santé.

So, what do speech therapists have to do with rehabilitation in adults?

How Stroke Affects Speech and Swallowing

A large percentage of adults who require inpatient rehabilitation services require these services because they’ve suffered a stroke. Just a few of the common consequences of a stroke include:

  • how you move food around in your mouth when chewing
  • how you swallow food and beverages (difficulty swallowing is called dysphagia)
  • how you express yourself through words (expressive aphasia) or put your thoughts to words that make sense
  • the strength of the muscles involved in speech (dysarthria)
  • the coordination of muscles involved in speech (dyspraxia)

How Speech & Language Therapists Help

First, the Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) assesses the patient to determine the extent of the damage. During the assessment, the therapist evaluates the patient’s strengths – those abilities that he or she has retained and those skills that will be helpful in rebuilding speech and swallowing skills.

Then, the SLT will develop a treatment plan designed to rebuild communication skills. This treatment plan typically includes custom practical and physical exercises that exercise the connection between the brain and the body as well as strengthen the muscles involved and improve coordination. In many cases, the therapist will help identify and implement alternative means of communication to assist with communication during the rehabilitation period.

During your stay with Santé, you can expect to work with a Speech and Language Therapist often. After the initial assessment, therapy is ongoing with frequent exercises and assessments to gauge your progress and adjust the care plan when necessary.

To learn more about the myriad of services at Santé, including speech therapy, visit us online today!

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