Although often considered treatment for childhood speech and language issues, speech therapy is sometimes recommended for adults. Adult speech therapy is a part of recovery programs for many illnesses, and may be used to help manage conditions that affect speech, language, eating or swallowing. When choosing an adult speech therapist, a variety of different settings and treatment options exist depending on the diagnosis. Adult speech therapy helps people gain greater control over speaking and language skills. For many adults, a medical issue such as stroke, or onset of motor-skill affecting conditions like Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. Brain injury and accidents that cause damage to the throat, jaw, or facial structure can also impair speaking ability. Other people may require adult speech therapy due to mental difficulties, which affect comprehension of language or the ability to speak intelligibly.
Diagnosis of a speech or language disability is done through a variety of tests, both mental and physical. If the problem is not physical in nature, the patient may be assessed for language comprehension and retention skills. Once the specific underlying cause is identified, treatment programs to help the patient can begin.
Treatment done in adult speech therapy may be done in many different ways, as best fits the need of the patient. Some people receiving adult speech therapy have group classes focusing on comprehension and pronunciation, similar to those taken when learning a foreign language. Depending on the nature of the condition, exercises for muscular improvement and homework may also become a part of the program.
While adult speech therapy may not be able to cure all speech or language disabilities, it can go a long way to giving adults confidence and focused training. Some patients may see a great improvement and even full recovery of all skills, while others may have to work hard to achieve every bit of increased ability. Struggling to communicate clearly can be greatly frustrating, yet some people may find speech therapy embarrassing or even shameful. A trained speech pathologist should soon be able to put worries to rest, and help to improve the quality of language, and life, for many patients.
A: Speech and language therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on helping individuals with speech and communication difficulties. This may include difficulty producing sounds, trouble with language processing, stuttering, and voice disorders.
An adult might need speech and language therapy if they have difficulty communicating due to a physical or cognitive condition. Examples of patients that may benefit from speech and language therapy include stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, and Autistic adults.” Trying to use person-first language (i.e., “Autistic adult” instead of “Adult with Autism.”)
A: Transgender voice therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on helping individuals with gender dysphoria to modify their voice to match their gender identity. This may include training in pitch, resonance, and intonation.
A: Cognition refers to mental processes such as attention, memory, perception, and problem-solving. Cognitive impairments may affect a person’s ability to communicate effectively.
A: An adult might need cognitive therapy if they have difficulty with attention, memory, perception, or problem-solving due to a physical or mental condition. Examples of conditions that may benefit from cognitive therapy include stroke, brain injury, and dementia.
A: An adult might need swallowing therapy if they have difficulty swallowing food or liquids due to a physical or neurological condition. Examples of conditions that may benefit from swallowing therapy include stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, and throat cancer.
A: Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by disruptions in the flow of speech. This may include repetitions of sounds or words, prolongations of sounds, or blocks in speech production.
A: A stutter can develop at any age, but it often begins in childhood. Some adults may develop a stutter later in life due to neurological conditions or traumatic brain injury.
A: Stuttering can affect communication by making it difficult for individuals to express themselves fluently. It can cause frustration, anxiety, and avoidance of certain speaking situations.
A: Yes, stuttering can be treated. Speech and language therapy can help individuals with stuttering to improve their fluency, reduce anxiety, and increase their confidence in speaking situations.
A: The length of stuttering therapy can vary depending on the severity of the stutter and the individual’s progress in therapy. Some individuals may see significant improvement after just a few sessions, while others may require more long-term treatment.
A: Yes, many speech and language therapists offer telehealth services, which allow you to receive stuttering therapy from the comfort of your own home.