• Augmentative and Alternative Communication

    Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) provides individuals who have lost the ability to verbally communicate with different communication options. Individuals with congenital or acquired neurological disorders may experience severe speech disability that impairs their ability to be understood by others or renders them non-verbal and/or unable to use hand or body gestures to communicate.  AAC strategies assist people with severe communication disabilities to engage more fully and independently in their social roles including interpersonal interaction, education, community activities, employment, and care management. AAC assessment and intervention may include use of low tech and high tech devices, such as speech generating devices.

    Individuals that may benefit from AAC include, but are not limited to patients with:

    • Multiple Sclerosis;
    • Cerebral Palsy;
    • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease);
    • Autism; and/or
    • Stroke and
    •  Other Neurological Disorders

    Dysphagia Therapy

    Dysphagia occurs when a person has difficulty swallowing. This can occur following a stroke, head and neck cancer, or any surgery that is completed in the area of the neck. It can also be caused by weakness. Symptoms of dysphagia include coughing or choking when eating, runny nose and eyes, and/or pneumonia. At United Hospital System a Speech-Language Pathologist will implement a comprehensive treatment program tailored to the needs of our patient.

    This may include:

    • Diagnostic tests to determine the safest diet along with strategies to eat safely;
    • Vital Stim Electrical Therapy;
    • Tongue/lip exercises; and
    • Strengthening exercises for the muscles involved in swallowing

    Lee Silverman Voice Treatment

    The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) program is designed to treat voice disorders in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders. Most individuals with Parkinson’s Disease will experience changes in speech, voice, and swallowing at some point during the course of the disease. The same symptoms that occur in muscles of the body such as tremors, stiffness, and slow movement, can occur in the muscles used in speaking and swallowing.

    This can cause:

    • A soft voice;
    • Mumbled or fast speech;
    • Loss of facial expression;
    • Trouble swallowing; and/or
    • Problems communicating

    LSVT® is considered the first speech treatment for Parkinson’s Disease to significantly improve speech after one month of treatment. At United Hospital System, an evaluation is completed by a LSVT® Certified Speech Pathologist to assess candidacy for the treatment program. United Hospital System’s physical and occupational therapy services also provide treatment to address changes in function related to Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders.