Speech and Language
The Department of Hearing and Speech at WFBH offers a range of services to help individuals with speech and/or language disorders. A speech and/or language disorder can be a result of stroke, brain tumor, traumatic brain injury, or neurological disease. Our Speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat adult patients with motor speech disorders and aphasia in the inpatient, rehab, and outpatient settings.
Motor Speech Disorders
Motor speech disorders can make it very difficult for individuals to clearly and effectively express themselves, which can be very frustrating. People with motor speech disorders know what they want to say, but cannot get it out. The two types of motor speech disorders are:
- Dysarthria: This is when the muscles of the mouth, face, and respiratory system may become weak, move slowly, or not move at all. Sometimes people refer to dysarthric speech as "slurred" speech.
- 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 they can say the same word without any difficulty. People with apraxia have problems imitating words but often can produce "automatic speech" without any problem (for example, saying "hello", "I'm fine", "OK", etc.)
Aphasia is a language disorder, usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain. There are different types of aphasia that affect people in various ways. Aphasia can make it difficult for a person to understand spoken or written information. It can also affect a person’s ability to speak or write. Sometimes an individual can have impairments in all of these areas to some degree. The different types of aphasia are known as global, Broca's, transcortical motor, conduction, anomic, transcortical sensory and Wernicke's aphasia.
The Speech-language pathologist will obtain medical history, perform an oral motor examination, and have the patient perform various speech tasks. The Speech-language pathologist may ask the patient to follow commands, respond to questions, name objects, repeat words and sentences, or perform reading and writing tasks. All of the information obtained during the evaluation will be used to establish a treatment plan to meet the patient's individual needs.
Treatment and therapy varies greatly depending on the specific disorder. For example, if someone has problems speaking clearly because of weak muscles, they may perform oral exercises and be taught speech strategies to speak more clearly. If a patient has a type of aphasia that causes them to have difficulty understanding what others are saying; therapy may target comprehension activities. The Speech-language pathologist will establish what the patient's individual needs are and will develop a specific treatment plan that will be most beneficial for the patient.