What is speech therapy?
The treatment to help people with speech impairments to speak more clearly is termed as Adult Speech Therapy (AST). Both kids and adults may suffer from these impairments with the symptoms which cause them difficulties with vocal communication. If you are an adult and suffering from one or more of the following symptoms, you are in dire need of Speech Therapy.
Symptoms Demanding Adult Speech Therapy
- Slurred, slowed, hoarse, stuttered or rapid speech
- Weakened facial muscles
- Trouble remembering words
- Expressive language deficits
- Sudden contraction of your vocal muscles
You must start undergoing Adult Speech Therapy if you feel a sudden onset of speech impairment. The delay in this context may enhance the signs of an underlying threat such as a stroke.
What Causes Speech and Swallowing Problems in Adults
The followings are the common types of speech disorders that need urgent medical treatment and Adult Speech Therapy.
- Aphasia is the inability to comprehend and express language and is commonly caused by a stroke, head trauma, brain tumor or cognitive degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Dysarthria is a slurred or choppy speech caused by degenerative muscle and motor conditions such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or Parkinson’s disease. It can also result from alcohol consumption, tight or lose dentures, Lyme disease, or facial paralysis such as Bell’s palsy.
- Spasmodic dysphonia involves the involuntary movements of vocal cords whenever you speak. The exact cause is still unknown but, most probably, it is due to abnormal brain functioning.
- Vocal disturbances are due to a number of activities, injuries and other conditions such as:
- Throat cancer
- Polyps, nodules or other growths on your vocal cords
- The indigestion of certain drugs such as caffeine, antidepressants, or amphetamines.
Apart from the above causes, hoarse vocal quality may also result from using your voice incorrectly for long hours.
The Role of Your Doctor
Depending upon the underlying cause of your speech disorder, your doctor’s treatment plan may involve a keen evaluation first. A neurologist, an otolaryngologist or a speech-language pathologist may evaluate you to help decide the final track of your treatment. A purely medical cure based on medication or even surgery may also be there to treat the disorders.
Keeping in mind the physiology and anatomy of speech and voice production, your doctor will decide his course of action. If you are suffering from any of the abovementioned medical disorders, you are not a case of Adult Speech Therapy. Your doctor will treat you with medicines or surgery.
When to refer for adult speech therapy
Only non-disordered individuals are treated with the help of Adult Speech Therapy applied by some competent therapists. So, it is your doctor who decides which category you fall into in the light of the above-said expert evaluation. He will refer you to some professional speech therapist or best speech-language pathologist if he thinks equal to it.
What Your Best Adult Speech Therapist Can Do for You
If you are a non-disordered individual but have problems with speech or voice production, you definitely need Adult Speech Therapy. Your therapist can teach you how to conduct exercises to strengthen your vocal cords, increase vocal control and improve articulation. It will enable you to
undertake an expressive and receptive communication in the long run. At times, assistive communication devices may also prove helpful and your therapist may recommend using some of them. For instance, he may advise you to translate the typed messages into verbal communication using an electronic device. Surgical or other complicated medical procedures are not necessary in most of the cases referred to a speech therapist. Here is what your therapist can do for you under the banner of Adult Speech Therapy.
Recovering from the stutter
Though more complicated of course, a stutter in adults can be managed with the technical help of a competent therapist. Every individual’s stutter is unique, as it is influenced by a number of factors that come into play when the stutter presents itself. Stutter gets triggered by different people
differently. Certain sounds (e.g. p, b, d, t, n, etc.), anxiety, mobile phone call, etc. may ignite a stutter. Having identified the reason, your speech therapist can manage and reduce the severity of your stutter very effectively. He will empower you with his therapy techniques to take back control of your voice and communication. Practicing these techniques systematically will prevent your stutter from having an overwhelmingly negative influence on your work or social life.
Helping out from Mumbling
Reduced efforts in speech may result in mumbling, a common conversational pattern, most prevalent in mornings with the empty stomach. Reduced volume and air pressure and light or imprecise constant voice productions might also be the causes of mumbling.
No matter what the reason is, Adult Speech Therapy knows very well how to treat your mumbling excellently. Working with your unique voice production, it enables you to be more articulate when you speak even with
Ridding of anxiety when meeting new people
Meeting new people makes many confused or nervous while prevents a few from offering their opinion, communicating in conflict, etc. This kind of anxiety makes the sufferer too shy and diffident to make new friends or even develop the existing relationship. Adult Speech Therapy cures them of
this anxiety and instills the underlying skills required to be a successful communicator.
Helping in interviews and other professional communication skills
The real professionals always like to improve their communication skills for their interviews and also at work later on. This is absolutely necessary because the job market is getting increasingly competitive, making it very hard for the candidates to be selected. Your speech therapist can work
on your non-verbal communication, voice quality, enunciation and discussions about the first impression, topic management and communicating in conflict.
Developing transgender communication skills
Most of the people especially the youth like to live their gender identity through appropriate communication. Unfortunately, a few people are not daring enough to do so confidently. Passing through Adult Speech Therapy inculcates in you the required courage by working on your voice
quality, pitch, loudness, etc. Your therapist also works on your voice projection, use of language, non-verbal communication or any other aspect that you feel is not an authentic representation of your inner-self.
Modifying the accent
A professional voice therapist always tries his level best to modify your accent to bring it to the natural parameters. It makes your talk more impressive and heart-touching and other people start liking your company a great deal. Adult Speech Therapy ensures the rectification as well as the
modification of the way you pronounce the words.
In short, Adult Speech Therapy is the solution to so many language-related problems produced in non-disordered individuals.