Speech pathologists are licensed professionals with a Certificate of Clinical Competency from the American Speech and Hearing Association. Our specialists are certified speech pathologists with a master's or doctorate degree.
Speech pathologists are trained to provide diagnostic and rehabilitative services for a wide array of communicative, cognitive, voice and swallow function disorders. Stroke, head injury, brain tumor, neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis, head/neck cancer and dementia can result in difficulty with the vital daily activities of communication and swallowing. Speech pathologists are dedicated to assist patients in returning to the highest possible level, so that they can communicate effectively with others, and enjoy safe and adequate nutrition.
We offer highly skilled speech pathologists who may specialize in the following areas:
Dysphagia (Disorder of swallowing)
• Modified barium swallow assessment
• FEES (Fiberoptic Endoscopy Assessment)
• Training for swallow strengthening exercise and diet management
• Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (Vital Stim)
• Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation (DPNS)
Speech and Language Disorders (From stroke, neurologic disease, brain injury)
• Aphasia assessment
• Aphasia treatment - Speech and language retraining
• Apraxia assessment and treatment
• Dysarthria training to maximize speech intelligibility
• Alaryngeal speech training for laryngectomy with esophageal speech or electrolarynx
• Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT) for Parkinson's disease
Vocal Nodules - Voice hygiene and vocal exercise training
• Muscle tension dysphonia - Vocal function exercise training
• Vocal cord dysfunction
• Tracheoesophogeal prosthesis (TEP) training for laryngectomy
• Traumatic brain injury retraining for attention, memory, organization, executive functions
• Right hemispheric stroke
The following treatments are available in Hampton Roads:
FEES: Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation
The Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation (FEES) is performed by a speech pathologist. A small endoscope is passed into the patient's nose and then down the throat. The endoscope is attached to a light source and to a camera so that the study can be recorded. The tip of the endoscope hangs right over the larynx, allowing a good view of what happens in the throat before and after the swallow.
The therapist might ask the patient to try several treatment strategies during the FEES, such as thicker liquid or a compensatory movement such as putting the chin down during the swallow. A speech pathologist must have additional certification in FEES in order to provide this service.
Lee Silverman Voice Therapy
Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT) is the gold standard treatment approach for speech and voice issues related to Parkinson's disease. This is a well-researched approach, which includes a specified delivery schedule of four treatment sessions per week for four weeks. It is a very dynamic approach which focuses primarily on the use of vocal loudness training in order to improve the communication ability in Parkinson's patients.
Patients are expected to complete additional home program work diligently. A speech pathologist must have additional certification in order to provide this service.
Tracheoesophageal Prosthesis (TEP)
TEP is an indwelling prosthesis placed in the neck for patients after laryngectomy. The prosthesis allows air from the lungs to be used in speech production. The patient can still breathe through the stoma in the neck, but due to a one-way valve, exhaled air will pass through the pharynx and mouth, allowing for improved airflow for speech. A trained speech pathologist can assist a patient in the care and use of the prosthesis.
Vital Slim Therapy
A swallow treatment approach combining the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation and traditional swallow exercises. The Vital Stim equipment is the only neuromuscular electrical stimulation device that is approved by the FDA for use in the area of the larynx. The electrodes are uniquely designed to stimulate some of the inactive muscles involved in dysphagia. A speech pathologist must have additional certification in Vital Stim Therapy in order to provide this service.