Speech Language Pathology News
Speech Language Pathology

What is Speech Therapy?

The practice of speech-language pathology involves the screening, identification, assessment diagnosis, treatment, intervention, and follow-up services for people with speech, language, and swallowing disorders.  A comprehensive evaluation by a speech-language pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the first step to improving language and speech problems.


For further information on speech-language pathology services visit the website of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association at www.asha.org


Why are people referred to Speech Therapy?

People are referred to speech pathologists for a variety of mild to severe speech, language and/or swallowing disorders.  Both children and adults can have speech, language, or swallowing disorders resulting from a medical condition or having no known cause.


Speech Disorders

When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder.  Difficulties pronouncing sounds, or articulation disorders, and stuttering are examples of speech disorders.


Language Disorders

When a person has trouble understanding others or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely, then he or she has a language disorder.  A stroke often will result in aphasia, or inability to comprehend or formulate language.


Language and speech disorders can exist together or by themselves.


Swallowing Disorders

Speech pathologists play a key role in the evaluation of feeding and swallowing disorders, or dysphagia.  Swallowing problems can occur at any stage of the swallowing processes: Oral phase – sucking or chewing, and moving food to the throat; Pharyngeal phase – starting the swallow reflex, squeezing the food down the throat, and airway closure to prevent aspiration and choking; and the Esophageal phase – relaxing and tightening of the openings at the top and bottom of the esophagus and squeezing food through the esophagus into the stomach.


Both children and adults can experience swallowing problems.  Swallowing disorders can lead to poor nutrition/dehydration, risk of aspiration, less enjoyment of meals, and isolation in social situations involving eating.  Treatment will depend on the cause and type of problem, and may involve specific swallowing therapy, compensatory strategies, and specific food textures and liquid consistencies.


What do I need to bring with me to my first appointment?

Please bring your prescription for therapy from your doctor, your insurance card, a list of your medications and any paperwork you were given to complete prior to the evaluation.



What happens during my first visit?

You will be asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment with your therapist to complete paperwork and review your insurance benefits.  You will be asked to complete a symptoms questionnaire.  A therapist will complete their evaluation.  Your therapist will discuss with you your medical history, current problem, how your daily activities are impacted, your goals from therapy and medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.   Upon gathering all needed information, your therapist will inform and educate you about treatment options and the course of care.


What else can I expect as a patient?

Big Stone Therapies’ professional staff takes pride in our Patients First approach to rehabilitation.  Exactly what does that mean?

We listen attentively to YOUR needs.

We promise open, honest communication with YOU and the other members of your health

care team.

During each treatment session, we will provide YOU with education about your diagnosis

and treatment plan.

We will provide YOU access to information you need to make the best health care decisions.

YOU will be involved in all decisions made concerning your health.


How long will each treatment last?

Expect your first visit to last 60 to 75 minutes.  Follow up treatment sessions are typically 45 to 60 minutes.


How many visits will I need?

This is highly variable among each individual, depending upon your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc.  During the first visit, your therapist will discuss with you how many treatment visits they anticipate you will need.


Who pays for my therapy?

In most cases, health insurance will cover your treatment.  Prior to your first visit, we will verify your insurance coverage and we encourage you to do the same as well.  At your first visit, you will be given the verification of benefits form that includes information such as the co-pay amount, deductible, number of approved visits, etc.


Will the therapist communicate with my health care provider?

Big Stone Therapies understands the importance of communication among members of your health care team (you, your therapist, your doctor, etc).  As a result following your initial evaluation, your therapist will send your doctor a written detailed report with the findings of your evaluation, the assessment of your injury, a detailed description of the treatment plan and a complete list of the goals to be achieved in therapy.

Before each appointment you have with your doctor, your therapist will complete a written progress report for your doctor to ensure they have the most up to date information concerning your care.  Additionally, your therapist will not hesitate to contact your doctor by phone if any specific questions or concerns arise.  At the end of your treatment, a final report will be sent with information regarding your status at the time of discharge from therapy.


What type of follow-up is offered?

At Big Stone Therapies, your therapist will give you a home exercise program that is appropriate for you to continue upon discharge of therapy.  You will be given detailed instructions of how to complete your at home program, allowing you to continue the progress you made in therapy and avoid further injury.

We are your partners in recovery, so even after your discharge, if you ever have any questions or concerns, call us and we will be more than happy to assist you in manner possible.


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