Questions and Answers
What symptoms may adults demonstrate that may indicate speech-language and/or swallowing deficits?
Sometimes, adults may exhibit speech-language symptoms that are not typical of normal aging. Adults with speech-language deficits may have problems finding words to communicate, expressing their wants and needs with complete thoughts, or articulating sounds in a precise and intelligible way. They may have difficulty understanding what is being said to them or following simple and complex instructions. Moreover, they may not be able to initiate conversations or understand when it is their turn is to participate. Adults may also present with cognitive deficits, affecting their memory, problem-solving skills and attention.
Adults with swallowing deficits may have problems at different stages of swallowing (e.g., manipulating and/or holding food in their mouth, transporting food to the back of their mouth in preparation for swallowing, or swallowing at the right moment).
What are different causes for speech-language and swallowing problems in adults?
There are different potential causes for speech-language and/or swallowing problems in adults: stroke, neurodegenerative pathologies (e.g., Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, ALS), or traumatic brain injury. The resulting speech-language problems are not to be confused with those typical of normal aging.
How can therapy help adults with speech-language and/or swallowing disorders?
Speech-language therapy can improve the individual's ability to communicate (e.g., express thoughts, feelings, wants and needs), and, therefore, enhance quality of life. Swallowing therapy can improve the individual's swallowing by strengthening muscles and providing strategies that will prevent aspiration.
What can you do as a first step to help someone with speech-language,
and/or swallowing disorders?
If speech-language abilities or swallowing are a matter of concern, individuals should be screened by a speech-language pathologist and be further evaluated, if needed. At Premium Therapy, we offer free screenings.