A speech-language pathologist is a health professional with special training and expertise in evaluating and treating all types of speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication and swallowing disorders.
At UC San Diego Health, our speech therapists are all licensed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a nationally recognized credential that meets the highest standards of excellence in the profession. This means you receive the best care possible, including advanced diagnostic and treatment options.
Many conditions may impact your speech or language, including stroke, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or traumatic brain injury. We treat all types of speech-language conditions associated with disease and injury, including:
- Apraxia (a motor speech disorder in which signals from the brain to the mouth are impaired)
- Aphasia (language difficulties, caused by brain damage)
- Dysarthria (a motor speech disorder often characterized by slurred or slow speech)
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Painful swallowing
- Parkinson's disease
- Stuttering and other speech impediments
- Voice disorders (problems with speech production such as abnormal pitch, loudness or loss of voice)
As part of an academic medical center, our therapists use evidence-based methods (methods grounded in science) and the most advanced diagnostic technologies to achieve the best outcomes for you.
Our services include:
- Evaluations: An initial assessment by a certified speech-language pathologist is a first step in crafting a successful rehabilitation plan. You must obtain a referral from a physician for an evaluation before any treatment by a speech-language pathologist can begin.
- Radiologic fluoroscopic exams (modified barium swallow exams): Movie-type x-ray techniques are used to create a video of the patient swallowing.
Flexible endoscopic exams: Endoscopy is used to observe the inside of the throat.
- Electrical stimulation (e-stem): The technique helps enervate (stimulate) nerves that control muscles involved in speech and swallowing.
- Compensatory swallow techniques: We teach patients how to compensate for loss of function.
- Muscle strengthening exercises: We teach patients exercises to help restore function of the muscles involved in speech and swallowing.
- Lee Silverman Voice Training (LSVT): This training approach can help individuals with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.
- SPEAK OUT! and The LOUD Crowd: These speech therapy services can also help patients maintain their communication skills throughout the progression of Parkinson’s.
- Home exercises: We teach patients a sequence of home exercises to maintain and continue to improve recovery
Because of wide variety of medical conditions that can affect communication and the physical act of swallowing, our patients’ care is often coordinated with medical specialists in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), neurology, gastroenterology, head and neck oncology, radiation oncology, and pulmonary medicine.