Speech and language therapy is concerned with the management of disorders of speech, language, communication and swallowing in children and adults.
Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are allied health professionals. They work closely with parents, carers and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and doctors.
Speech and language therapists work with:
Speech and Language Therapy for Children
We provide assessment, treatment and support for children and their parents who feel that their child may be having difficulties with speech or understanding. Reasons to consider Speech and Language Therapy for a child or adolescent are varied. We consider two main areas below, “Speech” and “Language”.
Language difficulties may be present in children of any age when one or more of the following are observed regularly:
- Sometimes they seem to have difficulty understanding what people say
- They find it difficult to follow instructions at school or at home, especially if they are long or complex
- Their responses to questions regularly sound inappropriate, or tangential
- They appear bewildered at times, and look to others to see what they should do
- Their sentences are incomplete, or don’t make sense
- They cannot easily find the right words to express themselves
- They use words that do not fit into the sentence that they are using
- They have difficulty learning new words, and find school work very challenging when new material is introduced with new language content
- In a social, day to day setting they manage to talk well, but if more complex questions or responses are needed they struggle to understand and respond appropriately
Speech difficulties can occur in isolation from language problems, or as a combination. Reasons to consider Speech and Langauge therapy are:
- Your child is difficult to understand
- You understand your child but people less familiar with them may not
- They are intelligible but make speech errors
Speech and Language Therapy for Adults
We offer experienced care and treatment for people who are having speech or understanding problems following the onset of a neurological condition or other organic disease or trauma.
- Eating, swallowing and/or communication problems following stroke.
- Neurological impairment or degenerative conditions such as head injury, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and dementia.
- Cancer of the head, neck or throat (including laryngectomy).
- Voice problems.
- Mental health problems.
- Learning difficulty.
- Physical disability.
- Hearing problems.
Every patient is unique, and can experience different symptoms. However, problems that we often treat include the following:
- Difficulty talking, ranging from minor to severe communication problems
- Difficulty finding the right words that you want to say
- Saying the wrong words
- Being unable to speak clearly
- Difficulty understanding people reliably
- Memory problems that affect your quality of life
- Poorer concentration and attention
- Difficulty keeping up with conversation
- Finding it difficult to interject and take part in group discussions
- A very quiet voice, or running out of steam as you speak
- Your speech has become rapid and people often ask you to repeat yourself
- Finding it difficult to think and process clearly
- Reduced social confidence due to speech and language difficulties
Terms that may have been used to describe your communication difficulties
Dysphasia: Speech, language and understanding difficulties that result from the brain being damaged.
Dysarthria: Speech has become slurred and difficult to understand due to damage to the nerve pathways that are involved in speech.
Some people experience difficulty swallowing after a stroke, head injury, head and neck cancer or neurological disease. Speech and language therapists are trained in the assessment and management of swallowing problems and will advise you on how to swallow safely, with the least difficulty.
An assessment by a speech and language therapist is recommended if you are experiencing some or any of the following:
- You cough or splutter when you drink
- You cough when you eat
- You find hard, dry or crumbly foods difficult to swallow and often cough on these
- You regularly experience food sticking in your throat
- You have frequent chest infections in combination with the above