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Speech Therapy

Adult Speech-Language Pathology

How do speech-language pathologists (SLPs) help people?

SLPs work with people who have trouble

  • speaking
  • listening
  • reading
  • thinking
  • swallowing
  • writing


What causes speech, language, or swallowing problems?

Communication and swallowing problems in adults can be caused by

  • stroke
  • head injury
  • diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and amyotrophic sclerosis (ALS)
  • breathing problems
  • head and neck cancer
  • vocal abuse (using the voice in the wrong way)
  • severe or long-term illness

 

What types of disorders do SLPs treat?

  • Aphasia – problems speaking, understanding, reading, writing, or using numbers due to stroke or brain injury
  • Apraxia – problems controlling mouth muscles to speak clearly
  • Cognitive-communication disorders – problems with memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and attention
  • Dysarthria – weakness or tightness in speech muscles that cause slurred or very quiet speech that may be hard to understand
  • Voice disorders – changes in how a person’s voice sounds
    • Higher or lower pitch
    • Hoarseness
    • Too soft or too laud
    • Unable to make sound
  • Swallowing(Dysphagia)–problems chewing or swallowing that can lead to
    • dehydration
    • malnutrition
    • food or liquid going into the airway, called aspiration
    • frequent pneumonia or respiratory infections
    • less enjoyment of eating
    • embarrassment when eating because of drooling or other problems
    • the need for tube feeding or other ways to get nutrition

 

Will speech-language pathology services help?

  • Yes. People who receive SLP services make improvements in all health care settings.

― 84% of people with a speech disorder (dysarthria or apraxia) made progress in the hospital or in rehab.

― 81% of people with language problems after a stroke make improvements with outpatient services.

― Over half of people in the hospital no longer needed a feeding tube after receiving swallowing treatment from an SLP.

Source: ASHA national Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS)

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