Communication and swallowing challenges are common among adults, especially the geriatric population, and can lead to social withdrawal and isolation, which often causes further loss of communication ability. The individual may have difficulty in hearing or understanding what others are saying, or have trouble expressing themselves effectively. This may lead to disappointment and frustration, while the family members/caregivers also can experience frustration with these communication breakdowns. Communication impairments may also include difficulty with reading and writing. There are many strategies and approaches that the Speech Language Pathologist can use to help the individual and family/caregiver cope with and overcome specific communication barriers.
Speech and language disorders in adults
Aphasia is a neurological language disorder that could affect the ability to understand, speak, read, or write. It is most often caused by stroke, brain damage such as tumours, traumatic brain injuries, or any neurological disorders. There are various types of aphasia. We use various therapeutics approaches to enable communication.
Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder in which the muscles that are used to produce speech are damaged, paralyzed, or weakened. It’s usually caused due to stroke, traumatic brain injury, lack of brain development (cerebral palsy), surgical implications etc. The major symptoms of dysarthria are mostly changes in speech such as breathy/ hoarse voice, fast/slow rate of speech, slurred speech, no strength in jaws/tongue/lips, difficulty swallowing. Our therapy focuses on the strengthening of oral motor muscles and improving speech clarity.
Stuttering/ Stammering and Cluttering are the most commonly seen fluency disorders. Stuttering is characterized by sound, word or phrase repetitions, sound prolongations and silent blocks. It affects a person emotionally and socially. Cluttering is characterized by fast rate of speech and erratic rhythm affecting the clarity of speech. We use fluency shaping strategies for intervention.
Voice problems commonly seen in adults are hoarseness, puberphonia (high pitched voice)in males , Androphonia (low pitched voice) in females, nasality etc. Voice problems can also arise from inflammation of the vocal folds, vocal nodules or may result from vocal abuse and misuse which is commonly seen in teachers and professional singers. We provide voice therapy as well as a Vocal Hygiene Program.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the nerve cells of the brain. The main symptoms of PD include involuntary tremors, slow movements and stiff and inflexible muscles. They also experience loss of speech, depression and anxiety, balance problems, loss of smell, sleeping problems, swallowing problems and memory loss. We use various strategies to improve their communication skills.
Dementia is the term used for a group of symptoms affecting memory, language, thinking, problem-solving and social abilities that affect our daily life. Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. Depending upon the cause, some dementia symptoms may be reversible. The symptoms start out slowly and gradually get worse. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of progressive dementia in older adults. We help with strategies for memory and conversational success.
SWALLOWING DISORDERS (DYSPHAGIA)
Some of the common causes of difficulty swallowing include stroke, head trauma, tumors, oral cancers, facial palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Due to ageing also swallow function may become slower and slightly weaker. Common symptoms include choking, coughing while eating or before or after eating, drooling, sudden weight loss, aspiration, recurrent pneumonia, difficulty controlling food in the mouth etc. We provide strategies for protecting the airway and improving swallowing function.