Adult Speech Pathology
In adults, speech therapy can treat a range of problems. The most common issues we treat in adults are:
Swallowing – Dysphagia
Due to age or disease, swallowing can become difficult. Some people have difficulty swallowing tablets or medications, and some foods can be harder to swallow. Sometimes people have choking episodes which can be very frightening. Other people find that fluid “goes down the wrong way” and this can cause chest infections or pneumonia.
Poor swallowing can also lead to weight loss, and affects quality of life. Dysphagia can happen due to age, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease or dementia, cancer and its treatment, and metabolic disorders. It can also be affected by medication and pain.
There are ways that dysphagia can be managed. Often it is possible to rehabilitate a swallow. If this is not possible then the disorder can be managed by modifying the consistency of fluid or the texture of food.
We will help you balance your comfort and safety whilst eating. In most cases we will also give you simple exercises you can do to strengthen and coordinate your swallow.
Stroke – Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)
When people suffer a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), one of the resulting disabilities can be speech and language. Disorders can include apraxia (poor motor planning and execution), dysarthria (poor muscle control) and aphasia (absence of understanding or using language). For some people, the high level, subtle non-verbal cues become tricky to use or understand, or find that they no longer understand abstract language.
When people lose aspects of their speech life becomes very difficult. Communication is central to being able to live life with independence. Family life suffers and it is hard to enjoy the social interactions and interests that make life pleasurable. People who have been good communicators all their life find it absolutely devastating when they can’t get their message across.
We will help you re-establish speech, understand what you hear, and “connect the dots”.
ADHD and Executive Functions
With increased awareness in the community, more people are now being diagnosed with ADHD as adults. People with ADHD have very poor executive function skills. These are the higher order thinking skills that control and regulate the other cognitive processes. Other people may not meet the criteria for ADHD but have poor executive functions, and this lets them down and reduces the functionality of their day to day life.
People with poor executive functions can be disorganised and forget what they hear, act impulsively, get stuck on one line of thought or over-obsess with details, over-react or under-react, judge themselves and others inaccurately, miss abstract implications or take things literally, procrastinate, lose things or over-organise themselves. They often fail to notice other people’s reactions, and may use spelling and punctuation erratically.
Executive functions include:
- Working memory – being able to hold onto information long enough to use it
- Inhibiting – impulse control
- Shifting – being able to change focus when needed
- Emotional control – responding with an appropriate level of emotion
- Initiate – getting started, knowing what to do next
- Self-monitoring – noticing, making changes when needed
- Organisation – being able to mentally organise time, resources and thoughts
- Abstract language – being able to take a non-literal approach to language
Bright, intelligent, educated people can suffer from poor executive functions. This impacts on daily life at home, working life, and well-being. Many people with poor executive functions suffer from anxiety.
When adults are diagnosed with ADHD they are often prescribed medication. Medication has been shown to make it easier for people to learn and remember and be organised. However it does not develop all the neural pathways that are needed for a really functional life and these skills still need to be learned.
We will help you identify which areas of functionality are letting you down. We understand how to work with all these areas of executive function and show your brain how to develop the neural pathways needed for functionality in daily life.
More than three out of every ten Australians were born overseas! That means that many Australians have a language other than English as their first language.
In Australia we expect to hear a variety of accents every day and everywhere we go. This does not cause problems for most people. There are times, however, when people need to be understood quickly and easily. Clear, unambiguous communication is vital to some work places. An accent can also make it harder to be understood over the phone. Sometimes income depends on being understood quickly and easily.
Some people choose to increase their speech clarity, and businesses opt to have their valuable employees go through a short training program to become even better communicators.
We will show you how to hear the rhythm and sounds of Australian English and take you step by step through making your English sound natural and unstudied. This will enhance your communication skills and reduce the effort you need to be understood quickly and easily.