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Speech and Language for Adults

What is the difference between speech and language?

When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder. Difficulty pronouncing sounds or articulation disorders, and stuttering are examples of speech disorders.

When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder.

What is an SLP?

Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) take into consideration the medical, physical, psychological, cultural, and social factors together with other relevant details that may contribute to the communication impairment.  The SLP performs a speech and language evaluation.  After the evaluation, the SLP will produce a report describing his/her findings and recommendations for treatment.  If therapy is recommended, the SLP will create a program to help the individual with the parts of speech and/or language that are troublesome.  The individual and/or his/her caregiver are encouraged to support the SLP within the session and the goals of therapy in the home environment.

How do I select a speech/language pathologist (SLP)?

  • Your primary care physician can make recommendations
  • Your insurance company can provide a list of those SLP s/centers that are covered by your policy
  • You can look at the ASHA website-asha.org (American Speech Language  and Hearing Association) and find licensed SLPs in your area

Causes of adult speech/language problems:

Speech and language concerns in adults may stem from a variety of sources.  Adults may experience life-long speech and/or language issues, such as stuttering, or as a result of a hearing loss.  They may have recurring problems with voice disorders that can stem from vocal strain.  Adults may have English as their second language, and therefore speak with an accent which they wish to reduce.  Other causes can be as a result of various diseases, conditions, and surgeries that can results in a speech and/or language disorder.  Common causes of problems can be a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or tracheostomy.

Description of common conditions:

Frequent terms applied to speech and language disorders that are a result of one of the latter issues are aphasia, apraxia, dysarthria, and dysphagia.  Aphasia or loss of language usually results after a stroke to the language areas of the brain.  The person may experience difficulty finding the word they want to use.  Apraxia may also result from a stroke to the motor speech centers of the brain resulting in the adult having difficulty coordinating the movements necessary for clear speech.  Dysarthria can also result from a stroke to the motor speech areas of the brain but refers to a muscle weakness that results in slurred or unclear speech.  Dysphagia refers to swallowing disorders.

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Related pages:

Speech and Language in Adults | Speech/Language Treatment Options

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