Therapy for all ages with communication and swallowing disorders
SPEECH / LANGUAGE AND ARTICULATION
Improving overall communication
Children who have developmental delays or special needs often need help to improve their language, speech, and communication skills. Children who cannot express their wants and needs can become frustrated and turn to inappropriate behaviors to try and express themselves. A speech therapist (SLP) can help your child to become a successful communicator by working on articulation and language skills, so he/she can more easily share their wants, needs and feelings.
Speech disorders occur when an individual has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (e.g., stuttering is a form of disfluency) or has problems with his or her resonance or voice.
Language disorders occur when an individual has difficulty understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or in written form and may involve the form (morphology, phonology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use of language (pragmatics) in functional and socially appropriate ways.
Improving function for daily living
Many people experience cognitive deficits after a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or dementia. This is often experienced as memory loss, slower thinking, problems with remembering the day or time, or difficulty with reasoning and judgment. A speech-language pathologist can assist with compensatory strategy training, memory training, and improving executive function skills to allow for greater independence with daily life.
Cognitive-communication disorders include problems with organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, future planning, and/or problem-solving. These disorders usually happen as a result of a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or dementia, although they can be congenital.
Lifespan Therapy provides cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) by essentially rebuilding the brain through neuroplasticity. CRT emphasizes independence in building skills that restore the rhythm of living. Tailored therapy treatments to an individual's needs can focus on the emphasis of improved language skills, increased processing speed, enhanced executive function skills (ie. proficiency in adaptable thinking, planning, self-monitoring, self-control, working memory, time management, and organization), task follow-through, and activity planning.
DYSPHAGIA / SWALLOWING DISORDER
Guided exercises to improve swallow function
Dysphagia is when you experience frequent coughing or choking with eating or drinking, foods sticking in your throat, or inability to swallow. Your doctor will refer you to an SLP for treatment. Swallowing therapy with Lifespan Therapy provides tailored exercises to strengthen swallowing muscles and maintain optimal range of motion to promote safe and efficient swallow with your recommended diet. Your clinician will also advise appropriate diet textures and/or use of compensatory techniques to ensure the safest swallow.
It is often advised for an individual diagnosed with dysphagia to undergo a swallow study ordered by your doctor or recommended by the SLP. Types of swallow studies include a Video Barium Swallow (VBS), also called Modified Barium Swallow (MBS), or Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) with an SLP. This provides the SLP with a visual assessment of the swallow function and structures to help determine the appropriate course of therapy/treatment. Because Lifespan Therapy does not perform these studies, it is highly recommended that you have a swallow study before starting therapy if you are receiving services for dysphagia.
Important note: Teletherapy services offered for swallowing are meant to help guide an individual through therapy exercises as an alternative to home health. Swallow evaluations are NOT provided via teletherapy, and should be performed in person with a local SLP.
The VitalStim® Therapy System is a non-invasive therapy to help to swallow through the use of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES). Electrical stimulation is used to aid muscle strengthening and muscle recruitment to rehabilitate the swallow. VitalStim® retrains the muscles needed to complete the swallowing process through specially designed electrodes attached to the patient's neck.
The VitalStim® Therapy System uses small electrical currents to stimulate the muscles responsible for swallowing. At the same time, trained specialists (Speech-Language Pathologists) help patients to re-educate their muscles through rehabilitation therapy.
PICKY EATERS / ARFID
Behavioral Feeding Training / Coaching
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a diagnosis in the DSM-5, that was previously referred to as “Selective Eating Disorder.” ARFID is similar to anorexia in that both disorders involve limitations in the amount and/or types of food consumed, but unlike anorexia, ARFID does not involve any distress about body shape or size, or fears of fatness. ARFID can have many causes, but many sufferers feel extreme anxiety and fear around eating.
Most are aware that these fears are irrational, but are unable to control their fears. Although many children go through phases of picky or selective eating, a child with ARFID does not "outgrow" these phases, and significant complications with growth and development may arise. ARFID can also result in problems at school due to difficulties eating with others or needing extended times to eat. In adults, ARFID concerns can cause severe lifestyle challenges, job difficulties, social relationship challenges, and complex medical issues. is when you experience
Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs)
Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs) is a term used to describe tight, restrictive connective tissue between oral structures. Tethered oral tissues are congenital formations that restrict the range of motion, which contribute to functional deficits. There are a total of seven frenula in the mouth: one lingual frenulum (tongue), two labial (lip) frenula, and four buccal (cheek) frenula.
What are signs and symptoms of tethered oral tissues?
Shallow or weak latch during
Breastfeeding or bottle feeding
Maternal pain during breastfeeding
Noisy or clicking during breast and
Sleep quality issues such as snoring, mouth breathing, restless sleeping, bedwetting and teeth grinding
Headaches & Migraines
Difficulty chewing and swallowing
GER (Gastroesophageal reflux)
Poor speech intelligibility
Voice therapy is like physical therapy for your voice. Sessions include a combination of education for a complete understanding of therapy practices and rationale, instruction for therapeutic exercises, and strategies to apply techniques to the conversation.
Voice therapy sessions consist of evidence-based exercises to heal injured vocal folds and rehabilitate your speaking and singing voice back to its most functional state. It is also valuable to undergo voice therapy to learn techniques and therapeutic exercises to promote an optimal healing environment for your voice after vocal cord surgery. Referrals from a physician and self-referrals are accepted.
Common diagnoses treated include, but are not limited to:
Muscle Tension Dysphonia
Vocal cord nodules, polyps, cysts, granulomas, and other benign vocal cord lesions
Vocal cord paralysis or paresis (weakness)
Vocal fatigue and strain
Age-related voice changes (i.e. vocal cord atrophy or "bowed" vocal cords)
Chronic cough and throat clearing
Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD)/Paradoxical Vocal Cord Motion (PVFM)
Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD)
Communicating one word at a time
Aphasia is an incredibly frustrating communication disorder for stroke survivors. It can affect your independence by limiting how much you can express your thoughts and needs. Whether your aphasia is mild or severe, Lifespan Therapy can help you find a way to effectively communicate your wants/needs with family, peers and healthcare professionals.
Social communication disorders occur when an individual has difficulty with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, asking questions), talking in different ways depending on the listener(s) and setting, and following rules for conversation and story-telling. All individuals on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have some level of social communication problems. Social communication disorders are also found in individuals with other conditions, such as a traumatic brain injury.
Treatment for aphasia can be restorative (i.e., aimed at improving or restoring impaired function) and/or compensatory (i.e., aimed at compensating for deficits not amenable to retraining). The treatment approach can be a mix of the following or other methods recognized by ASHA set forth by the evaluating/treating SLP:
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices
Communication through technology
An augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device, is a tablet or laptop that helps someone with a speech or language impairment to communicate. The term AAC device is often used interchangeably with terms like speech-generating device (SGD) or assistive communication device or simply communication device.
AAC devices also provide therapeutic benefits. Simply using a device has been shown to improve language skills and many individuals experience an increase in verbal speech.
Finally, AAC devices are beneficial to the user’s caregiver and family members since it allows the user to be more independent and reduces the burden on others.