Tag Archives: Speech disorder

What’s Up Wednesday: Stroke/ Broca’s Aphasia Headway!

26 Jun

Stroke affects a cast population of people every year. Sadly, numerous stroke sufferers have long-term effects, including speech and language issues. This holds especially true for those who had a stroke in the left hemisphere, where the majority of our communication abilities originate. When there is damage done to this side of the brain, it can lead to Broca’s Aphasia, which is associated with non-fluent speech. In these cases, the person knows what he/she wants to communicate, but doesn’t possess the ability to utter out the entire utterance. In turn, only words or short phrases come out. Other related deficiencies include spontaneous speech, reading and writing, and other communication issues.This condition affects the sufferer’s entire life, as the ability to communicate is vital to daily interactions, which can render the person incapable of holding a job or conversation. Luckily, there has been a decent amount of research on the matter, and one researcher from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D. along with his team have found a technique that may be suitable for those with this condition.

 

What he has come to find so far in his preliminary studies, is the possible viability of a technique called speech entrainment. Within this technique, the part that relies on audio-visual feedback seems to prove most promising. The process involves the client to watch and listen to a speaker who talks slowly on an iPod and mimic the speaker simultaneously. Over time, the video portion is taken away and the speaker attempts to speak via audio. In his study with 13 patients, they all went through a 3 week period and practiced speech every day. By the end,the ability to produce spontaneous speech increased, which is superb considering this population of patients rarely see that type of success. So this technique seems to provide some hope for Broca’s Aphasia patients!

 

If you would like to read more, here is the article: http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/News/In-The-News/New-Technique-Helps-Stroke-Victims-Communicate.aspx

Dr. Fridriksson also gave a talk on TED about his research and gives some background on Broca’s Aphasia. It includes video of patients talking with this condition, including one who is a severe case and got better after the therapy. It shows his talking with and without the audio-visual feedback, which is neat to watch. It’s only 15 minutes, so here’s the link:  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy6S7aMmUYo

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What’s Up Wednesday: Stutterer on Spain’s Reality TV

19 Jun

 

 

Now a days, TV shows require some type of diversity, whether it be ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, childhood adversity, illness… what’s sort of special about this video is that a contestant, Juan Carlos, on Gran Hermano in Spain doesn’t have an illness that’s viewed as much on reality (or many other) shows. Stuttering.

 

What is stuttering? Well think back to Looney Tunes. Remember how episodes would end with our favorite pig, Porky Pig, exclaiming, “Th-th -th-that’s all folks!” The part of the utterance where Porky Pig is stuck on ‘th’ is considered stuttering. There’s actually many types of stuttering (also known as stammering). Some examples include those at the single sound level (h-h-how are you?), entire words (dad-dad-dad, I want that) or even phrases (are we done- are we done- are we done, mommy?). Of course, they don’t always go on for 3 repetitions, sometimes more. Even prolongation is considered a stammer; so, when Daffy Duck says “That’s dissssssspicable”, it could be thought of as a stammer. These are just some examples, you can find more types of stammering in one of the links below for further reading.

 

Aside from this, there’s also different ’causes’ of stuttering, for lack of a better term. In Juan Carlos’ case, I believe his is developmental and tends to run in his family. Now, don’t count me 100% on that, but I’m pretty sure. Also, for most developmental cases, the person outgrows the condition as they age. Some don’t. As for him, if my memory serves me right, his older relative that had this communication disorder as well had grown out of it at some point. Juan Carlos still hasn’t, and neither has his younger relative who has fluency issues as well. So hopefully that changes soon!

 

In addition to developmental stammering, there’s two others as well- neurogenic and psychogenic. If you’d like to learn more about those, and developmental, fell free to search or visit the second link below “Causes of Stammering”.

 

Over all, I’m glad they had a contestant with a speech disorder on the show. In his case, it could’ve been a con, as some people may not have had patience listening to him, but that doesn’t seem the case! He made quite a few friends on the show, and from what I saw, it mostly occurred when he was nervous, excited or had the focus on him. Despite those kinks, he did great on the show, and it’s awesome that they casted him!

 

Types of Stammering: http://www.wordsinmotionspeech.com/types-of-stuttering.html

 

“Causes” of Stammering”: http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/speech-pathology/speech-language-disorders/stuttering/types-stuttering.cfm

Photo: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_g7H3XufwC24/TNfpoxylHqI/AAAAAAAAAhw/EngKuTZtoME/s1600/thats-all-folks.jpg

 

SLP Skills Saturday #4: Innovative/Creative

15 Jun

Guess what day it is?! It’s Saturday, and this Saturday is special because today I’ll be posting another blurb in the series “SLP Skills Saturday”! So get ready…

 

One of the biggest draw to this career, for me at least, is the ability to be creative in therapy sessions. Now, some might think… how can you be innovative when you are teaching others how to swallow or speak? Well, each client is different and has their own special needs. This means that not every client with Autism Spectrum Disorders or stuttering or pronunciation difficulties will exhibit their disability in the same fashion. Just as all students learn differently, all clients have their own personal obstacles that have their own rehabilitation techniques to conquer said difficulties. So, although you may be working with a group of students with Autism or a stroke victims group for those with Aphasia, not each person will learn the therapy techniques in the same way or time frame. So you need to be creative in your approaches in order to customize them per client for optimal success.

 

As I just slightly mentioned, there’s also the need for creativity in the therapy plan itself. You need to think of different ways in which to help the client overcome his/her communication or swallowing difficulty. Sometimes several techniques need to be utilized before you find the perfect fit for that person. This is when creativity is vital. Sometimes it’s the last idea that proves to be the best.  Not to mention, it’s fun to let your mind come up with new ideas and materials for sessions. I know that when I babysit, I enjoy thinking of out-of-the-box ideas for crafts and games with the children, and that may just help with my future career!

 

This is just a small glimpse into how creativity is a fun and integral part of this occupation. I’m sure there’s plenty more ways in which innovation is a good skill to have in this occupation.

Professional Network of a Speech-Language Pathologist: Audiologist

10 Jun

Although it may seem as though it’s a one (wo)man team for diagnosing and treating those with communication and swallowing deficits, there’s actually much more to it. Each patient is completely unique and typically requires more than one professional in his/her care team. Of course, not all will need what seems like an entire hospital staff, but many clients that a SLP may come across may have at least one other professional.

There’s also an exception to every rule. The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), the country’s association for SLPs, Audiologists and related researchers, recommends/requires that an audiologist exams an individual who has a suspected communication or swallowing disorder as part of a Speech-Language Pathologist’s assessment.

Why? It does seem a little odd. Why would a hearing and balance doctor need to assess someone who possibly can’t swallow or speak effectively? How do ears affect your mouth or talking? Well, they may not affect swallowing as much, but they are a vital part of the “Speech Chain” [picture below]  as my one professor calls it. Ears are an intensely vital part of the communication system. Just take a moment and imagine trying to have a conversation with a person while having headphones on… is their speak muffled? or maybe you can’t even hear them at all? This sort of segues into why an audiologist is a key participant in a SLP’s professional and assessment network. They must assess whether (especially for young children or those in an accident) there is an obstruction or other issue with the auditory system that is creating the communication deficit. If so, then it could just be that the person needs a hearing aid or some other action to fix the issue and won’t require speech therapy. That’ll help identify the issue correctly and save the client time and money.  If the client doesn’t have an auditory issue, or still wants/requires speech therapy for other reasons, then the SLP may assess the patient further to find the best therapy plan. There’s also the chance a client may require both professionals as part of his/her therapy plan, with management and reassessment as time goes on.

This is just one professional that a SLP will most likely work with in the course of his/her career. I’ll be sure to write about others as time goes on! Hope this was interesting and helpful!

 
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Retrieved from: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_rvWQRDdyLC8/TLb4HzvNTVI/AAAAAAAAAAs/mTwf52IdBIw/s1600/Blog%235.gif

 

What’s Up Wednesday: The SLP’s Role in Bullying

27 Feb

I was perusing through Pintrest earlier, as I do on a regular basis, glancing over new foods and crafts to try, as well as some SLP stuff. That’s when I came across this little ditty, which I think is vital information for a SLP, or anyone working with those who have impediments of any kind. Bullying. Although this brochure mainly pertains to the population of pediatric stuttering patients that are in schools, the general information is relevant to any SLP working with children in a school setting… in fact, I think all SLPs should know this, as medical speech therapy patients, child or adult, will come across some jokes or even bullying, and could use this information. Just knowing that their speech therapist is aware of these non-therapy issues is helpful for patients. (Even teachers and parents need this knowledge about better ways to manage bullying, in my opinion.)

According to Gordon Blood, professionals can use the acronym “STOP IT” to assess, deter and overcome a bullying situation. It goes as follows:

” S- stop the bullying immediately
T-tag and identify the behavior at once
O- offer assistance and social support to the victim
P- present immediate/appropriate consequences for bullying behavior

I- instruct witnesses and bystanders
T- teach students, personnel, parents and friends intervention strategies (Blood, n.d.)”

If we can implement this strategy and hand this poster up in our classes (or entire school), then we are at least taking one step closer to assisting patients who are victims of bullying and teaching others how to act in the situation. We probably can’t erase bullying entirely, but any attempt is better than no attempt!

If you would like more information on stuttering, bullying or stuttering& bullying, then check out the brochure, and the link for The Stuttering Foundation below:

The Stuttering Foundation

Brochure: Bullying & SLPs: Enhancing our Roles as Advocates for Students Who Stutter

Blood, Gordon, PhD. (n.d.) Bullying & SLPs: Enhancing our Roles as Advocates for Students Who Stutter [Brochure]. Memphis, TN: The Stuttering Foundation.

What’s Up Wednesday: Vocal Fry

13 Feb

Only a mere year ago I was sitting in my first Linguistics class, Introduction to Linguistics. My teacher was an enthusiastic grad student who had an interest in sociolinguistics. Basically, that means he was interested in how society affects language (vocabulary, sounds, pronunciation, etc.) A few examples of this would be studying African American Vernacular or Gay Speech, and see how those subcultures utilize language in different ways than the umbrella culture. After a few months and learning the basics of linguistics, we began to talk about dialects, sociolinguistics, etc. One thing that came up was this new “trend” of the vocal fry, which is often seen in younger female speech as of right now.

 

What is the vocal fry you ask? Think back to hearing your daughter, niece, neighbor speak. Or better yet, have you heard Ke$ha or Brittany Spears talk? This vocalization is illustrated when people tend to draw out the end of their sentence in a low, vibrating tone. Perhaps a video could better explain it, so here’s an example for you to listen to (although she exaggerates it greatly): Does it make sense now? Some say that it’s become a trend that’s pioneering new speech patterns, especially since girls tend to use it for social acceptance or to show irritation (at least I think). After all, other speech patterns have caught on over the past decades, or at least gained attention/knowledge.

 

As she states, this is pretty bad. Not only for other’s ears and sanity, but for the speaker’s vocal health as well. The vocal folds are meant to vibrate to pronounce voiced sounds, such as [z], [b] and [g]. This is only meant for short bursts and the vibration isn’t as rough. On the other hand, the vocal fry makes the sound elongated and has the vocal folds hitting each other more for a longer time. In fact, Speech Language Pathologists used to help people who did this, considering it as a slight voice impediment. There’s debate as to if it is completely harmful(or at least long-term), but I’d think it would at least somewhat bad if kept up for a long time. I wonder if we could look in and see if there’s any irritation there.

 

So what do you think… epidemic or natural? Safe, hazardous, or neither?

Research, Research, Research

10 Feb

If you know me, you know I love learning and expanding my knowledge, especially if it’s something I’m interested in. And well, I’m one happy chica right now, as I get to research two separate topics dealing with two different things I love (with some over-lapping!). My first project is a paper on Childhood Apraxia for my Intro to SLP class. I love learning about different diseases, how they relate to speech disorders and development and just anything to do with children or my future profession! (Although, I’m not dead-set on child therapy yet, but considering I’ve had more experience with kids makes it more viable.) It was a hard decision choosing a topic for this because, similar to the child-adult debate, there’s some uncertainty about what I want to specialize in, if I do. There’s just sooo many possibilities that I didn’t know about! Childhood Apraxia of Speech ended up beating out the other contenders, though! It is just captivating, especially since it’s not really acquired, which means that the child was born with it. And it has such a range of severity, with the most severe being almost unable to say any formidable and understandable words. How could that not spark interest?! I’ll be looking into many things, including possible therapies and such, so I’ll be up-to-date on that by the end of this!

 

The second project I am taking part in is actually a group project for my Genes and Diseases class (gahhh, genetics! I love it.) Turns out we are all CSD majors, and our topic was narrowed down to Deafness. For this we’ll have to figure out how it goes from a mutation in the DNA that mis-translates into a bad protein that then causes deafness. Apparently there are many genes related to deafness! We had to pick one that seemed most prevalent so we were certain we’d find enough info.  We also get to actually see where it is located and everything! Which makes me all the more excited since it’ll help me curb my appetite for genetics. I may also be able to use this information in my career as an SLP, especially since I hope to learn ASL. 🙂

 

I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on anything I find interesting and whatnot! What are some diseases, conditions or anything related to Speech-Language Pathology or genetics that interest you?

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