Aphasia is a language disorder where a person experiences difficulty speaking, reading, writing or understanding language. Aphasia can be caused by stroke or traumatic injury to the brain and includes a variety of types based on the where the injury occurred. Our speech therapists can help improve communication, thinking and problem-solving skills.
If an individual has difficulty or is unable to communicate through verbal, written or gestural means, alternative methods may be required to facilitate communication. AAC uses tools that provide support to such individuals in order to make communication more effective. AAC users have a variety of diagnoses, including: ALS, cancer, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, stroke, etc.
Our speech therapists offer cognitive therapy to address cognitive difficulties to help you regain independence with self-care and improve quality of life.
Learn more about cognitive therapy.
Dementia is a group of symptoms related to memory loss and overall cognitive impairment. Most types of dementias continue to worsen and are usually irreversible. Alzheimer's disease is the most common and well-studied cause of dementia, affecting up to 70 percent of those diagnosed with dementia. People with dementia often need help taking care of themselves. They may have difficulty communicating with others. Everyday activities, such as grooming, preparing meals and driving, may become difficult. Our speech therapists can help improve communication, thinking and problem-solving skills.
Fluency disorders occur when the flow of fluent, "natural" speech is disrupted by various behaviors. A commonly known fluency disorder is stuttering. The etiology of fluency disorders is not exactly known. Fluency disorders may come about due to developmental, psychogenic or neurological factors.
Motor speech disorders include dysarthria and apraxia of speech and result from problems with the brain’s connection to the parts of the body required for speech. Motor speech disorders have varied etiologies including stroke, traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, ALS, etc.
Swallowing disorders include: difficulty chewing, controlling, and retaining food in the mouth; residue in the mouth or throat; a wet/gurgled voice after swallowing; and/or consistent throat-clearing, coughing, or choking when eating. Aspiration is a main concern related to dysphagia. It occurs when food or liquid enters the airway and potentially makes its way to the lungs. Aspiration is concerning because it can result in pneumonia.
Dysphagia treatment addresses safety of oral intake by targeting use of aspiration precautions, myofunctional therapy, compensatory swallowing strategies, and muscle strengthening exercises. Edward-Elmhurst Health offers VitalStim Therapy which utilizes electrical stimulation to supplement swallowing exercises for appropriate patients. Swallowing disorders can occur due to dementia, head and neck cancer, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease (learn about LSVT BIG and LOUD for Parkinson's disease), etc.
For children, proper development of speech and language skills is essential to learning, interacting with others and communicating their needs. Proper nutrition is critical to brain development and overall growth.
If you have concerns regarding your child's ability to use sounds and words to communicate with others, to be understood when speaking, to understand others, or to successfully swallow a variety of foods, our specialists can help.
Children with the following diagnoses can benefit from pediatric speech therapy:
- Speech and language delays and disorders
- Articulation and phonological disorders
- Voice disorders
- Brain injury
- Swallowing and feeding impairments
We also provide follow-up therapy to babies who’ve been in the NICU.
Our caring speech and language therapists work closely with your child’s teachers, school therapists and doctors to coordinate sessions that address your child's specific needs and build skills for daily living. Our treatment rooms are specially designed for children and at some locations offer an observation area with headsets and one-way mirrors.
Learn more about pediatric rehabilitation services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
Voice disorders refer to changes in vocal quality that interfere with a person’s ability to speak clearly and comfortably. Symptoms can include hoarseness, changes in pitch, excessively quiet/loud voice, fatigue when speaking, strained speech and more. Voice disorders can result from behaviors such as consistent throat-clearing, smoking, and excessive speaking to name a few. They can also be due to infections/viruses, reflux or cancer.
Edward-Elmhurst Health offers LSVT Loud, which is an effective speech treatment for individuals with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions that may cause changes in vocal quality and speech intelligibility. Learn more about LSVT BIG and LOUD.
A concussion is a traumatic injury to the brain (TBI) that can cause neurometabolic changes in the brain. This is often not visualized through MRI or CT scan. TBI can result in cognitive deficits affecting concentration, memory and problem-solving, which in turn can negatively impact participation in daily routines. Speech and swallowing may also be affected as a result of TBI.
Learn more about concussion management.