Speech Language Pathology (or Speech Therapy) involves the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders that relate to speech, language, swallowing, fluency, voice and communication.

A Speech Language Pathologist helps people who struggle with speech disorders because of developmental delays, stokes, brain injuries, learning disabilities, hearing loss and other problems that can affect speech, such as Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis.

The following gives a description of some common areas speech pathologists may address:

1. People with apraxia of speech know what words they want to say but their brains have difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.  They may say something completely different or even made up words. So, “kitchen” might become “bipem” or “chicken.”

2. Most children make some mistakes as they learn to say new words. A speech sound disorder occurs when mistakes continue past an age when we would expect the child not to have any errors. Every sound has a different rane of ages when the child should be making the sound correctly.

Speech sound disorders include:

Articulation (making sounds). For example, the child may say “tat” for “cat” or “poon” for “spoon”.

Phonological processes (sound patterns). The child deletes a pattern of sounds, for example, the child deletes the final sounds in most or all words, such as “ba” could be “ball” or “bat”.

The child’s language skills may be delayed if he or she is not able to express himself at age level. The following link gives developmental milestones for a child’s language: https://identifythesigns.org/communicating-with-baby-toolkit/

3. Dysphagia (dis-FAY-juh) can occur at different stages in the swallowing process:

Oral phase (the mouth)
Pharyngeal phase (the back of your throat)
Esophageal phase (the tube that takes the food to your stomach)

Speech therapy can perform a Modified Barium Swallow Study and/or a Clinical Dysphagia evaluation to determine if the patient is getting food/liquid into their lungs (aspiration). We work with the patient to make it easier and safer for the patient to eat and drink.

4. Speech therapy can help people with problems with their voice, such as chronic hoarseness, a very soft voice or “mumbled” speech.

Voice therapy (after medical clearance from an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor) consists of a variety of tasks designed to eliminate harmful vocal behavior and shape healthy vocal behavior.

Windom Area Health has expanded our speech therapy services to surrounding areas:

-Jackson: Tuesdays and Thursdays
-Slayton: needs based
-Tracy: needs based
-Westbrook: needs based
-Windom- Main Location

For further questions, call the Rehabilitation Department at 507-831-0634 or click HERE to visit our website.

Blog Written By: Joann Anderson, Speech Language Pathologist

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