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Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders. Treatment depends on the type of language disorder — some originate in the brain while others involve articulation or physical differences like cleft palate or problems with the voice.

Speech Pathology

Speech-language pathologists, also called SLPs, are experts in issues affecting verbal communication and/or swallowing. We often think of a speech pathologist as working in a school setting to help children who stutter or lisp, but SLPs work with people of all ages. Speech issues can be acquired, as in the case of strokes, trauma to the brain, or progressive neurological conditions. Physical differences such as cleft palate can also affect speech. A speech pathologist will use different therapeutic techniques depending on the cause of the speech issue.

Types of Speech Disorders

Speech impairments take many different forms and have a number of unique causes. Speech therapy will help identify the type of impairment you or your loved one is experiencing and address the root cause. Types of speech disorders include:

  • Aphasia: Usually caused by a stroke or other injury, aphasia affects the parts of your brain responsible for processing language. People with aphasia have difficulty reading, writing, speaking and understanding language.
  • Apraxia: People with apraxia generally know what they want to say, but cannot form the necessary words. They may also have trouble with swallowing or other motor skills.
  • Dysarthria: Dysarthria refers to slow or slurred speech caused by a weakening of the muscles that control speech. Causes include stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Articulation Disorders: Most common in children, articulation disorders affect one’s ability to produce certain word and may cause the substitution of one sound for another. For example, a child may say “wed” instead of “red.”
  • Fluency Disorders: Fluency disorders impact the speed and rhythm of speech. Stuttering and cluttering (speech that is slurred together or too fast) are both types of fluency disorders.

Physician’s Referral

If you or a loved one has recently suffered a stroke or significant injury and is experiencing one or more of the challenges listed above, the first step is to share your symptoms with your primary care physician or neurologist. If your child seems to be struggling with speech or has fallen behind communication milestones for his or her age, share your concerns with your pediatrician. Speech Therapy at Community Memorial requires a prescription or referral from a doctor.

Once you have received a prescription or referral from your doctor, call 805-948-5063 to schedule an initial evaluation. Our team will schedule your first appointment and brief you on how to prepare.

At your first appointment, one of our expert speech therapists will meet with you, your child or loved one, perform an evaluation, and assess the impairment. He or she will then make a treatment recommendation and work with you to develop a therapy plan, including number and frequency of therapy sessions.

Your therapist will collaborate with the other members of your medical team and provide regular progress updates to your primary care physician, pediatrician, or neurologist.