Improving Your Ability To Communicate - Speech Disorders
specialize in treating patients who have speech and
language problems, including motor speech disorders and aphasia, or
difficulties communicating that result from brain injury, stroke or neurological
disease. Our speech-language pathologists work closely with you, offering
inpatient and outpatient care or rehabilitation, depending on your specific
Motor Speech Disorders
disorders can make it difficult to express yourself. You may know what you want
to say, but have a hard time communicating your thoughts. Motor speech
- Dysarthria: The
muscles of the mouth, face and respiratory system may become weak, move slowly
or stop moving. Dysarthric speech may also be called "slurred"
- Apraxia: People
with apraxia of speech have trouble sequencing the sounds in syllables and
words. Sometimes a person cannot say a word, and then later can say the same
word without any difficulty. It may be difficult to imitate words but easy to produce
automatic speech without any problem (for example, saying "hello,"
"I'm fine," "OK," etc.)
Aphasia is a language disorder that is usually caused by damage to
the left side of the brain. Aphasia can make it difficult for a person to
understand spoken or written information and can affect the ability to speak or
write. There are several different types of aphasia, including global, Broca’s,
transcortical motor, conduction, anomic, transcortical sensory, transcortical
mixed, and Wernicke's aphasia. Learn more about aphasia.
Stuttering (Fluency Disorder)
Stuttering is an
abnormally high frequency and/or duration of stops in the forward flow of
speech, usually characterized by hesitations, repetition of whole words and
repeated phrases. Although it typically begins in early childhood, onset of
stuttering can occur at any time during life.
In some cases, a Passy Muir Speaking Valve (PMV) is appropriate
for patients who have a tracheotomy, or breathing tube. The device allows
voicing and coughing and enhances swallow function. Wake Forest Baptist
speech-language pathologists work with physicians and respiratory therapists to
place PMVs for the patient and evaluate tolerance with the valve. Patients
and caregivers are provided with thorough education regarding use and care of
Individuals with brain injury may experience trouble
communicating, understanding others or completing daily tasks that they used to
be able to accomplish. Our speech-language pathologists work with patients and
their families to develop strategies to compensate for any observed
Our speech language pathologists work together with
ENT/head and neck surgeons and audiologist to evaluate patients who may benefit
from cochlear implants. They perform speech, vocabulary and language testing prior to implantation
and after implantation. They also conduct yearly follow-up appointments and help
patients develop new communication strategies. Learn more about cochlear implants.
multidisciplinary clinic meets three days per month. The speech- language
pathologist sees patients with amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS)
who are experiencing speech and/or swallowing difficulties and works with them
to compensate for and provide alternatives for their deficits.
The multidisciplinary multiple
sclerosis (MS) clinic
meets one day per month. The
speech-language pathologist primarily evaluates patient's cognitive-linguistic
skills and provides compensatory strategies to assist with any deficits they
and Language Therapy
As a first step, your speech-language
pathologist will take a medical history. Next, you will have an oral motor examination
and perform various tasks. For instance, you may be asked to follow commands,
respond to questions, name objects, repeat words and sentences, or perform
reading and writing tasks.
information will be used to establish a treatment plan that is right for you. Our
speech-language pathologists work closely with each patient, customizing
therapeutic tasks to help improve expressive and receptive language and speech.
For example, if you have problems speaking clearly due to weak muscles, you may
do oral exercises and learn strategies to speak more clearly. If you have a
type of aphasia that makes it difficult to understand what others are saying,
therapy may target comprehension activities.