McKenzie Uber is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist based in Arizona. She graduated with a MS in Communications Disorders from Texas State University. McKenzie has experience working with the pediatric and adult populations in a variety of clinical settings.
In this episode we talk about the five main areas that a SLP addresses (hint, its about more than just talking!). We discuss treatment and assessment strategies and talk about who can benefit from a consultation with a SLP. Finally, we address the social and emotional implications of having a speech and language impairment and how clinicians, community and family members can best support these individuals.
-Speech language pathologists focus on 5 main areas of speech and language
Speech: the production of language (using the muscles and nerves)
Language: the words we say and understand
Voice: quality and strength of the sounds made by the vocal cords
Cognition: broad category including memory, decision making, processing speed
Swallowing: of food and liquids
-An SLP can help train the production of speech through practice
-Language impairments include expressive and receptive aphasia
-Expressive: difficulty saying the words you mean
-Receptive: difficulty understanding things said to you or things you read
-Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices such as a tablet with a special communication program or a yes/no board can be alternate strategies for communicating with someone with a speech or language impairment
-It is important as a clinician, community-member or caregiver to take time to figure out how to most effectively communicate with someone with a speech or language disorder. Everyone deserves to be heard!
-An Ear Nose and Throat physician (ENT) is a great first start for someone experiencing changes in their voice but depending on the cause an SLP may be able to help
-Swallowing disorders may be obvious based on symptoms such as coughing or choking after eating or drinking; wet sounding voice or cough, difficulty breathing after a meal. Swallowing dysfunction can lead to aspiration (food or liquid traveling into the lungs instead of the stomach) and can cause deadly episodes of pneumonia.
-Some people may be silently aspirating
-The only way to be sure is through a Modified Barium Swallow study during which different thicknesses of liquid and textures of food are assessed through a live x-ray to determine how the person is managing them
-Some people may need to be on a specific diet of liquid thickness and food textures to prevent aspiration. It is important that everyone involved in mealtime understands the person’s specific dietary needs.
-Placing someone on dietary modifications is never taken lightly and SLPs will work with individuals to help restore their swallow. NMES devices may be appropriate in some cases.
-See your doctor for a referral to an SLP or visit ASHA.org to locate an SLP near you