Speech therapy is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention and treatment of diseases and disorders of the voice, speech, communication, swallowing and related cognitive disorders.
It also deals with the study of higher cortical functions and their neurobiological basis related to language, memory and learning.
DISEASES TREATED WITH SPEECH THERAPY:
Dysphonia, when the voice is missing, or is weak, or is hoarse for any reason.
Stuttering, disfemia: i.e. when you “jam” while talking or are unable to speak “easy”.
Dysarthria, when it is difficult to articulate words (this groups all the expressive alterations due to early and normal neuromotor diseases, like for example in cerebral palsy, in Parkinson’s disease, in multiple sclerosis etc.).
Specific language disorders, or mistakes in pronunciation, or in the construction of altered words or phrases.
Dysphagia, swallowing and/or eating disorders: when there is an incorrect closing of the teeth, palate or neurological problems and syndromes (e.g. Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, surgery demolition, neurological problems – stroke, head trauma etc.-, degenerative diseases etc.).
Deviant swallowing, i.e. no transition from child swallowing to adult-type swallowing.
Specific learning disorders, such as, for example:
– difficulty in “reading” – Dyslexia
– difficulty in “mathematical operations” – dyscalculia
– difficulty in saying and/or building a sentence correctly
– difficulty in writing well and without mistakes – dysgraphia and dysorthography.
Communication or speech impediments, of genetic origin (e.g. Down syndrome) or acquired in childhood (e.g. neonatal, prenatal meningoencephalitis, etc.), linked to dementia (Alzheimer, multiple infarction, etc.).
Communication disorders due to deafness.
Difficulties in communication and language in people with autism (pervasive developmental disorder).
Language difficulties of various sorts, like in hyperactive subjects with difficulties in relationship management.
Language difficulties due to social-cultural inadequacy.
PHASES OF THE SPEECH THERAPY REHABILITATION PROTOCOL:
Assessment of communication skills (not to be confused with medical diagnosis)
Drawing up an action plan
Continuous check on intervention
Speech therapists, even in multidisciplinary teams, process the therapy assessment aimed at identifying and improving the patient’s health needs; they practice therapeutic activities for the rehabilitation of communicative and cognitive disabilities, by using habilitation and rehabilitation speech therapies for verbal and nonverbal communication and language; they propose the adoption of aids, train patients in their use and then verify their effectiveness.