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Speech Language Pathology

The speech-language pathologist contributes to the establishment of an interdisciplinary treatment plan, the assessment and management of swallowing disorders, speech production, voice disorders, tracheostomy and ventilator management (as it relates to communication and swallowing), verbal and written expression, auditory and reading comprehension, and pragmatic language skills. The speech-language pathologist is also concerned with cognitive impairments that may affect language, including impaired attention, inflexibility, impulsivity, disorganized thinking, inefficient processing of information, difficulty processing abstract information, difficulty learning new information, inefficient retrieval of old or stored information, ineffective problem solving and judgment, inappropriate social behavior, and impaired executive functions, such as the impaired ability to set goals, plan, initiate, self-monitor, and self-evaluate.

Once an evaluation is completed, the speech-language pathologist develops a treatment plan to meet the needs of the individual patient. This plan includes individual services, group treatments, and/or co-treatments conducted with other team members to meet mutual and complimentary goals. Treatment is provided to patients at all levels of recovery, including training in the use of compensatory strategies for memory, orientation, problem solving, attention, or other cognitive deficits; computer-assisted therapy; training in augmentative communication; and community re-entry activities.

  • Dysphagia: The speech-language pathologist provides an evaluation of swallowing skills. For patients with swallowing problems or decreased ability to chew, supervised meals are essential to safety and proper nutrition. Patients are seen at meals in the dining room and monitored for follow through with techniques and the amount of nutritional intake.
  • Communication: The primary focus initially with patients with a communicative problem is to establish a basic communication system to enable a form of communication early on. This is accomplished by analyzing the patients strengths and weaknesses. A basic communication system is developed and used to communicate wants and needs to the patients family, staff and team members.
  • Cognitive – Linguistic Skills: Individualized treatment is provided to patients whose cognitive deficits interfere with the ability to communicate. Memory, orientation, problem solving, attention, reading and writing will be addressed as they relate to communication impairments.