Communication DisordersAdults with acquired speech and language difficulties also benefit from speech therapy.  Therapy may include intervention for voice disorders, communication disorders, communication difficulties (aphasia, or dysarthria) after stroke, or cognitive- communication disorders.



Aphasia and Dysarthria

Aphasia is a term used to describe a language problem that an adult suffers from after a stroke or brain impairment.  The adult loses his / her ability to use language effectively.  Aphasia can cause problems with spoken language (talking and understanding) and written language (reading and writing). Typically, reading and writing are more impaired than talking or understanding.

Some people with aphasia have trouble using words and sentences (expressive aphasia). Some have problems understanding others (receptive aphasia). Others with aphasia struggle with both using words and understanding (global aphasia).

Aphasia may be mild or severe. The severity of communication difficulties depends on the amount and location of the damage to the brain.  Recent research data suggest that intensive therapy is more effective than receiving the same number of hours of therapy over an extended period of time.

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder.  It is a term used to describe imprecise speech.  An adult who is previously able to speak normally may have difficulties pronouncing words or speaking due to weaknesses in the muscles that help produce speech sounds.  The muscles involved may be muscles in the chest wall, throat, mouth, tongue and even the soft palate.  This normally happens after a stroke or injury to to head and neck.  It may also happen after treatment of head and neck cancers.

The common signs of Dysarthria are:

  • “Slurred” speech or difficulties pronouncing words clearly
  • Slow speech and more difficulties saying the words
  • Difficulties moving tongue, lip, and jaw
  • Changes in vocal quality (harsh or hoarse voice)
  • Drooling or poor control of saliva

Cognitive Communication Disorders

Cognitive Communication Disorders refers to difficulties with the use and understanding of language as a result of changes in executive functions. This commonly occurs following brain injury and is also noted when early cognitive changes occur (eg early stages of dementia).  Cognitive communication disorders may manifest in many ways, including the inability to draw conclusions, or make inferences. A person with cognitive communication disorder may not be able to understand feelings based on facial expressions or tone of voice.

Speech therapy is indicated for the above conditions.  Research has shown that intensive and frequent rehabilitation especially in the initial phase of the injury determine the outcomes.  Patients who undergo intensive and frequent rehabilitation have better outcomes than those who receive the same amount of therapy over a longer period of time.

Contact us about communication disorder and the services we offer for these conditions and how we can help.