At Manchester SLT we provide a specialist therapy service for individuals with neurological disorders. Our therapists aim to maximise an individual's communication to their highest potential and help them to eat and drink as safely and independently as possible.
What are neurological disorders?
A neurological disorder is any disorder caused by damage to the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves). Neurological disorders will often compromise areas of an individual's speech, language, communication and swallowing.
The most common cause of neurological disorders is a stroke (when blood supply to the brain is cut off). Other causes of neurological disorders include brain injury, genetic disorders and infections.
As the central nervous system is responsible for controlling speech, language, communication and swallowing, any damage to it will result in difficulties in these areas.
The type and severity of the speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties experienced by an individual will be fully dependent on the area of the central nervous system which has been damaged and the extent of this damage. Some individuals may experience mild difficulties, whilst others will experience more severe difficulties and be unable to speak at all.
What problems caused by neurological disorders can speech and language therapy help with?
There are many difficulties caused by neurological disorders which speech and language therapy can help with, these include:
- Expressive language difficulties - difficulties expressing verbal, written or non-verbal communication.
- Receptive language difficulties - difficulty understanding spoken, written or non-verbal communication.
- Speech disorders - any difficulties with the production of speech sounds.
- Social communication problems - difficulties expressing or understanding social communication e.g. body language, emotion, tone of voice etc.
- Eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
- Voice problems any difficulties with the pitch, volume or quality of an individual's voice.
A common difficultly experienced by individuals who have had a stroke or brain damage is known as Aphasia. Aphasia is a language difficulty caused by damage to the areas of the brain which control language. Aphasia can affect both expressive and receptive language and can vary in severity from mild to severe.
Other common neurological difficulties include:
- Dysphagia - eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties
- Dysarthria - a motor speech disorder where an individual's speech muscles become weak, resulting in difficulties producing speech sounds correctly.
- Dyspraxia - difficulties planning and organising motor movements, this often causes difficulties producing speech sounds and also with eating, drinking and swallowing.
How can Speech and Language Therapy help individuals with neurological disorders?
Speech and language therapy at Manchester SLT is highly beneficial for individuals with neurological disorders and can help to improve and support any speech, language, communication or swallowing difficulties.
The main aim of speech and language therapy for individuals with neurological disorders is to maximise their communication to their highest potential. Speech and language therapy also focuses on improving an individual's ability to eat and drink as safely and independently as possible.
The speech and language therapists at Manchester SLT will carry out an initial assessment which will identify and evaluate the patient's speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties. Following an initial assessment the speech and language therapist can provide a range of treatment options which may include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Advice and support
- Therapy programmes
The type of treatment and number of treatment sessions given will be fully dependent on the individual's specific difficulties, abilities and preferences for treatment.
The speech and language therapist will devise an individualised treatment plan which will be tailored to the patient's specific needs and abilities.
Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial and can help to improve any speech, language, communication or swallowing difficulties. Speech and language therapy is beneficial for both the individual and their family and can help to increase confidence, self-esteem and independence.