Speech-language pathology is the science of diagnosing and treating disorders of communication including problems with speaking and understanding language and related problems with reading and writing.
Speech-language pathologists also treat disorders of cognition and swallowing.
The goals of speech and language therapy is to improve an individual's ability to effectively communicate and to maximize function of oral structures and swallowing.
OSF Rehabilitation offers speech therapy on both an outpatient and inpatient basis.
Treatment programs are developed by the speech and language pathologist, in conjunction with other health professionals when appropriate, to provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach.
Programs are tailored to each person's individual needs, as identified in the evaluation, and may include assistive devices to supplement communication such as communication boards or electronic systems.
Who Is It For?
Conditions treated by speech pathologists include:
- Cleft palate
- Language delay/disorder
- Articulation and phonology delay/disorder
- Head injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Hearing impairment
- Neurological disease
- Parkinson Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Cerebral Palsy
- Developmental delay
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Voice disorder
- Dysphagia (swallowing disorders in children and adults)
When would I see a speech-language pathologist for a swallowing disorder?
A speech-language pathologist evaluates and treats disorders of swallowing (dysphagia) related to weakness, neuromuscular difficulty or surgery in the mouth and throat (pharynx).
This may include problems in handling food and liquids in the mouth as well as the patient's ability to avoid choking while eating.
What Does Speech Therapy Involve?
Speech and language pathology evaluation includes obtaining a medical history, informal observations and formal testing.
Evaluation results are discussed and therapy goals developed with the patient and/or family. A personal treatment schedule is then designed.
Evaluation may include:
- Hearing screening
- Oral motor skills - including those needed for production of speech sounds and swallowing
- Articulation and speech sound production
- Receptive and expressive language skills
- Reading and writing skills
- Auditory comprehension skills
- Cognitive skills
- Modified barium swallow
Speech Therapy for Parkinson’s Patients
OSF HealthCare offers a two-part speech therapy program to help people with Parkinson’s regain and maintain their ability to communicate and connect with the world: SPEAK OUT!® and The LOUD Crowd®.
Participants work with speech pathologists on a series of speech, voice and cognitive exercises to convert speaking from an automatic function into an intentional act.
The LOUD Crowd
Upon completion of SPEAK OUT!, this maintenance program of weekly group sessions led by a speech-language pathologist provides group members support, encouragement and accountability to one another.
Participation in The LOUD Crowd, along with daily home practice and six-month re-evaluations, has been shown to help patients maintain their communication skills throughout the progression of Parkinson’s.
Preparing for Speech Therapy
You will need a physician’s referral to set up an initial evaluation appointment.
What to Bring
Please bring your insurance card and a photo ID. Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
When to Arrive
Arrive about 15 minutes prior to your scheduled visit to complete your registration process.
For children under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must be present for the initial appointment.
What to Expect
The first visit will take a little longer, approximately 45 minutes to an hour. This provides the therapist time to talk with you and gather information and measurements.
The therapist may give you a home exercise program to help get you started on your road to recovery.