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Speech-language pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, offer comprehensive services including the evaluation and treatment of patients with speech, language or swallowing impairments. These difficulties can result from a variety of causes, such as brain tumors or cancers of the head and neck (mouth, throat or larynx). Sometimes surgery and radiation treatment can impair speech and swallowing.
Speech-language pathologists are experts in developing an individualized plan of care tailored to each patient's needs. They can assist with the following:
- Swallowing therapy: a therapist may teach exercises and compensatory strategies to allow an individual to swallow safely. If left untreated, an improper swallowing mechanism may lead to a serious condition called aspiration (food draining into the lungs).
- Dietary recommendations: your therapist may work with a nutritionist to recommend a dietary consistency most safe in the setting of your swallowing condition. This determination may be made through a clinical swallowing evaluation or more sophisticated testing, such as a Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES).
- Speech therapy: a therapist will evaluate any speech deficits and tailor therapy to improve articulation and speech intelligibility. This may involve therapeutic interventions to increase the mobility of an individual's tongue, the prescription of assistive devices such as an electrolarynx (battery-operated speech device), or compensatory language training, such as esophageal speech.
For appointments, a doctor's written prescription is needed and may be sent by fax or mail. Prior authorization by the health plan may also be needed. Patients will be called to arrange an initial evaluation within 24 hours of receiving the prescription.
To schedule an appointment or to get more information, please call (310) 423-2111.