Speech Therapy at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
Speech and language pathologists, or therapists, treat language and communication issues and help recover communication abilities in both children and adults. Speech and language pathologists are also able to help individuals with voice deficits, swallowing and eating.
The Care You Need, Close to Home
We offer speech therapy services for adults at our convenient UnityPoint Health - Des Moines locations throughout the metro. You can find adult speech therapy at the following locations:
Blank Children's Hospital also offers a full range of therapy services for inpatient and outpatient care for infants, children and teens who have an injury, developmental condition or illness. Their services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and audiology.
Common Disorders Found in Adults
In adults, aphasia is a language disorder that is the result of damage to parts of the brain that contain language. This language disorder can cause difficulties with speaking, listening, writing or reading, but does not affect a person's intelligence.
Apraxia of Speech
This is a motor speech disorder where the message from the brain to the mouth is interrupted, and the person cannot move their lips or tongue to make the right sounds. Someone who has apraxia has problems making sounds correctly and consistently. Apraxia could be developed from an injury when the part of the brain that controls coordinated muscle movement is damaged. This can happen when a person has a stroke or brain injury.
Dysarthria is when a person has muscle weakness that affects their speech production. This is commonly referred to as slurred or slowed speech. Dysarthria can be tied to a different diagnosis such as stroke, brain injury, brain tumors and conditions that cause facial paralysis or tongue or throat muscle weakness.
In terms of language disorders, there are two types: receptive and expressive disorders:
- Receptive Disorders. This refers to a person's difficulties in processing language.
- Expressive Disorders. A person with an expressive disorder struggles to put words together, has a limited vocabulary and cannot use language in an appropriate way.
If a person has been diagnosed with a swallowing disorder, he or she has problems chewing, swallowing, gagging, coughing and refusing to eat.
At some point, we've all experienced a time when our voice didn't want to work. Whether it's allergies, exposure to irritants, a cold – you name it – we've experienced a hoarse voice. There are voice disorders, like vocal cord nodules, vocal cord paralysis and paradoxical vocal fold movement.
Medical Conditions that Affect Speech
There are medical conditions that can hinder a person's speech capabilities. Some of those conditions include:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Huntington's Disease
- Oral Cancer
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Parkinson's Disease
Head and Neck Cancer
Speech and language pathologists treat patients that have head and neck cancer which may result in:
- Swallowing problems
- Trismus; inability to open your mouth adequately for speech and swallowing
- Voice problems
- Tension reduction of head and neck muscles
- Lymphedema reduction of head and neck tissues
- Cognitive problems following cancer treatments, including chemotherapy
- Breathing problems
Frequently Asked Questions — Speech Therapy
Is there a difference between an adult and pediatric speech and language pathologist (SLP)?
Yes, a speech and language pathologist usually works with the pediatric or adult population. While they are often trained in both, these areas are typically separate. A pediatric speech and language pathologist may work on, but is not limited to, areas that may affect a child's development such as speaking, understanding, social skills and problem-solving. They also can work on swallowing and feeding issues due to medical conditions.
The adult population can be seen for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, stroke, traumatic brain injury, concussion, swallowing difficulties, brain tumor, head and neck surgery or after chemotherapy. Adults may be referred to a speech and language pathologist due to memory problems, difficulty pronouncing or finding the right words, voice problems, swallowing and eating issues, problems with reading and writing or problem-solving.
What can a patient expect from the first appointment through treatment?
The first visit is an evaluation. This usually includes health history, testing and goal setting. Treatment sessions will include tasks specific to the patient's goals, the practice of skills and review of previous sessions' homework. Often, the patient's family members are asked to be a part of the session so they can give the correct cues and terms used to facilitate the patient's response.
How long does treatment last (with the acknowledgment that every individual is different)?
45 minutes, as these are 1:1 sessions. It is important to be on time to get the most from your session.
Is there anything unique about the speech and language pathologists at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines?
Speech and language pathologists in the outpatient clinics can address most adult disorders in speech, language, cognition and swallowing. Various speech and language pathologists have expertise in mild cognitive deficits, voice, language processing and swallowing. We have the Regional Adult Dysphagia Clinic which completes outpatient video fluoroscopic swallowing assessments. We are also an integral part of the growing concussion clinic. Our speech and language pathologists participate in outpatient clinics for ALS, too.