The Speech and Language Therapist will assess and manage any difficulties that you may experience with your communication and/or your ability to eat and drink.
Once we have received a request to see you we will contact you and arrange to see you in one of the following settings
- Your home
- Bloxwich Hospital
- Short Heath Clinic
- Residential/nursing home
- Day Centre
What Communication Difficulties can Occur?
This is a disorder of language which results from changes to the speech and language centres in the brain. The following areas can be affected:
- Understanding of spoken language (comprehension)
- Understanding of written language (reading)
- The ability to use language (spoken) e.g. choosing the right words to use, putting sentences together
- The ability to spell
This is a physical disorder that affects muscles that are used for talking e.g. tongue and lips. This can make your speech sound slurred and difficult to understand.
Hearing, Eyesight and Dentition
Physical problems can affect your communication difficulties. If you have difficulties with hearing, eyesight and/or your teeth then it is important to get these corrected.
- If you already have a hearing aid make sure that you wear it and ensure that it is working.
- If you have glasses make sure that you wear them and that they are the correct prescription.
- If you have dentures make sure that they fit correctly.
It is also important that friends and relatives can hear you properly.
Things that can help include:
- Turning down the T.V.
- Getting their own hearing checked
- Sit so that you can clearly see each other’s faces
Practical Guidelines for family/carers
What can you do to help?
- Take your time, speak slowly and clearly. Do not shout unless you know your relative has a hearing problem
- Make sure your relative can see your face as you speak
- Break requests into stages, allowing a pause between phrases to give an individual time to try and understand what you are saying
- Use mime, gestures and facial expression to back up what you are saying if necessary. Write down key words/ important information
- Ask questions one at a time
- When talking, try to reduce background noise and activity. People with dementia can be confused by too much noise and visual stimulus. Too many people speaking at one time may cause confusion
- Talk about specific subjects using gestures / photographs / mime to help comprehension
- Be patient and listen.
- Do not rush them—we all speak better if we are relaxed
- Encourage slow speech
- Encourage gesture or pointing
- Alphabet or picture books maybe useful, but you should always check with the therapist before trying to use them
- Phrase questions in such a way that they need only answer yesor no (or nod or shake their head). Be aware that answers may not always be reliable
- Only ask for one piece of information at a time
- Repeat back what you think has been said to check you have understood.
- Keep a calendar/diary, make notes as reminders for appointments
You may experience difficulties when eating and/or drinking. If the following occurs you will need to see a speech and language therapist for a clinical swallowing assessment.
- coughing and/or choking on drinks or food
- sensation of food sticking in your mouth or on the way down
- difficulty chewing foods
- food and/or drinks escaping from your mouth
- recurrent chest infections
Speech and Language Therapy Recommendations
After assessment a speech and language therapist will make specific recommendations to ensure the safest and most effective way of swallowing, where possible. This may involve :
- Changes in food texture
- Changes in fluid consistence
- Change in positioning or posture
- Pacing the swallow
- Changes in the amount per mouthful
On occasions eating and drinking may be considered unsafe and alternative intake may be recommended.