Speech Therapy at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
Speech therapists treat language and communication issues and help recover communication abilities in both children and adults. Furthermore, speech therapists are 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 Speech Disorders Found in Adults
- Voice. 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.
- 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 damage, this can happen when a person has a stroke or brain injury.
- Dysarthria. Dysarthria is when a person has muscle weakness that affects their speech production. Commonly referenced 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.
Who Could Benefit From Speech Therapy?
Adults experience speech and language problems for a variety of reasons. Learn more about instances that might require speech therapy.
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.
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.
If a person has been diagnosed with a swallowing disorder, he or she has problems chewing, swallowing, gagging, coughing and refusing to eat.
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
Frequently Asked Questions Speech Therapy
What can I expect when I meet with a speech pathologist?
Before determining a treatment plan, a speech-language pathologist will perform an assessment. Treatment plans will vary depending on whether it's a speech or swallowing disorder.
Once a treatment plan has been tailored to fit the person's needs, the speech-language pathologist will have the individual perform different exercises and techniques to strengthen the throat for swallowing disorders.
Is there a difference between an adult and pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP)?
Yes, an SLP usually works with the pediatric or adult population. While they are often trained in both, these areas are typically separate. A pediatric SLP 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 diagnoses including, but not limited to, strokes, traumatic brain injury, concussion, swallowing difficulties, brain tumors, head and neck surgeries or after chemotherapy. Reasons to be referred to an adult speech therapist might include memory problems, difficulty pronouncing or finding the right words, swallowing and eating issues, problems with reading, writing or problem-solving. Voice problems include raspy voice or too soft to be heard.
What types of exercises do patients partake in during speech therapy?
Each program is individualized for each patient's diagnosis. We treat a variety of diagnoses including swallowing and eating problems, cognitive problems and voice deficit problems. An exercise/home program is set up to address each patient's problem. An individualized program may include performing homework in reading articles and answering questions, puzzles, researching a topic, speaking to family members or other healthcare professionals. A patient may be given tools to assist them in their daily life. For example, a memory notebook, a picture book to help identify needs or other specialized communication devices if they are unable to verbalize.
What can a patient expect from the first appointment through treatment?
The first visit is an evaluation. This would include a 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/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. 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 therapists 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 an integral part of the growing concussion clinic. An SLP participates in outpatient clinics for ALS.