Have you ever been curious about how improving speech and language capabilities can make a difference for those people with challenges? At the Delaware Speech & Hearing Center, we have eleven highly trained Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) on staff who help screen speech and language difficulties in children, teens and adults.
What do Speech Language Pathologists do?
These SLPs assess, diagnose and treat disorders related to speech, social communication (sometimes called pragmatics), cognitive communication and swallowing.
Recurring and consistent speech therapy — either in group or individual settings — is shown to significantly and positively impact physical, psychological, social and emotional health. The work that our SLPs do with those patients impacted by speech challenges can improve everything from their literacy to their ability to function independently. The goal for patients of all ages to achieve expressive and receptive developmental milestones at the appropriate time and work to their individual maximum potential.
Our SLPs also provide assessments for the use of alternative augmentative communication (AAC) devices for individuals who cannot verbally speak.
Speech Pathologists also routinely give educational presentations to parents, medical professionals and civic organizations. Some of the topics we cover and explain include:
- Feeding disorders and how home health nurses can help,
- Communication disorders in the aging population at assisted living centers or senior community centers,
- Normal development of speech sounds and language, or
- Activities to conduct at home in order to promote or stimulate speech and language..
We also educate each patient’s family during or after regular sessions. If needed, we can refer patients to other specialists or specialty programs to help them meet their goals.
Where do DSHC’s Speech Language Pathologists work?
DSHC offers speech and language screenings at child care centers and preschools, and speech and language diagnostic evaluations and therapy to the pediatric and adult populations at our offices in Delaware and Powell.
Diagnostic speech evaluations and recurring speech therapy is also provided to children through contracts at five school sites including:
- Head Start center
- St Mary’s
- Delaware Christian School
- Delaware City Schools
- Woodward Elementary School
At these sites, the Speech Pathologists work closely with the general education teacher or intervention specialists to guide speech and language goals that support each child’s academic work.
During the summer, the DSHC offers multiple summer programming options for children ages 18 months to 12 years old with communication delays. SLPs utilize evidence-based, multi-sensory, play-based approaches to build language, vocabulary, social skills and phonological awareness skills for these kids. Group sessions are held for one or two hours at least once each week for six or eight weeks.
Our Speech Pathology team also facilitates a bimonthly Parkinson’s Support Group at SourcePoint.
How do SLPs help people with autism?
SLPs play a central role in the screening, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of people who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. For example, a child diagnosed with ASD will have much greater success with early, specific and targeted intervention.
As part of the ASD diagnosis, we recommend getting an evaluation by an SLP. This will help identify social skills, language milestones, and behavior needs. Treatment may include any combination of traditional speech and language approaches, alternative communication, and behavioral interventions.
How do SLPs measure improvement?
Our entire Speech Pathology program is designed and executed by developing measurable objectives at the individual level. Each patient has a specific individual intervention plan. We determine progress using standardized (objective) testing and subjective observations.
Based on what we identify, evaluate and assess, therapy may be recommended in an individual or group setting. Most individual therapy is offered for a half hour, but this can vary based on the patient’s needs. Group therapy is provided in small groups, a support group setting (Parkinson’s, after stroke, etc.) or in a play-based setting like our summer programs.
How does someone in need get help from DHSC?
First, we start with a speech and language evaluation that is tailored to the age and abilities of the person we’re working with. Recurring intervention services are specifically guided by the strengths and needs determined during this evaluation.
We address each area of need individually and our focus is on development of typical communicative interaction. Intervention activities for younger children utilize “play-based therapy” because play is the way kids learn best.
Patients can receive an evaluation in our offices, in the schools, as a hospital inpatient or as an outpatient. Contact us or talk to your medical professional for more information.