Speech pathologists are responsible for treating an array of speech and language disorders. Millions of people suffer from a range of disorders that can come from trauma, like a stroke, or are born with disabilities that affect their language skills.
Speech pathologists don’t only support people with I/DD or the elderly; they can also help people who want to improve their articulation. How does a speech pathologist help adults?
Find out more about the methods used in speech therapy to help people improve their ability to communicate.
Speech pathologists can help people improve their articulation; patients can range from stutterers to the intellectually disabled and patients with physiological causes, like vocal cord lesions. Articulation treatment focuses on exercises that help the speaker speak more clearly.
Initially, the pathologist will determine which sounds would benefit from improvement. From there, the therapy would graduate from words to sentences, to reading, and finally to a conversation.
Restoring speech and language capabilities after a stroke involves both functional activities and cognitive exercises. The exercises can include visualization techniques to improve memory, sentence creation to improve vocabulary, and vocal exercises to restore speech. Often, role-playing helps patients regain confidence in their abilities.
People with abled bodies can enlist the help of a speech pathologist to help improve their public speaking skills. Speech pathologists can teach general techniques to increase their confidence when speaking to an audience.
Some exercises include reading exercises that help the patient focus on pacing and intonation. Learning to emphasize parts of the message increases self-confidence and clarity.
People With I/DD
A speech pathologist is an integral part of the team that supports people with I/DD; by helping them with any speech or language disorders, people with I/DD can lead full lives within a community.
Pathologists use the same techniques for speech therapy, but they might also focus on creating a better understanding of verbal language. Often, the treatment targets three areas of language:
- Receptive language: Receptive is our ability to follow directions, read body language, and understand visual cues.
- Expressive language: Expressive is our capability to let people know what we feel or think. For example, telling a friend what you think about a movie is expressive.
- Social language: Social involves communicating with strangers, such as through ordering food or asking questions.
How a speech pathologist helps adults are more than improving speech; it’s about improving areas of communication for a diverse range of patients.