Speech Therapy at Healthlink
Children and adults with speech disorders may benefit from speech and language therapy. If you or a family member has speech or language disabilities involving communication, memory or swallowing, our speech therapists can work with you to help you reach your goals.
Compassionate Outpatient Care for Speech Disorders in San Antonio
Early intervention can help improve communication and boost self-confidence for people with speech disorders, language delays and communication problems resulting from a neurological event like a stroke. Baptist Health System's dedicated and compassionate team of speech therapists at Healthlink is here to help.
We offer a broad range of techniques and activities to provide treatment and support for verbal, nonverbal and social communication in all our outpatient Healthlink facilities in San Antonio. Our team of speech therapists and staff help:
- Increase verbal communication and comprehension skills
- Improve memory and problem solving
- Strengthen swallowing muscles
- Manage chronic cough
What Is Speech and Language Therapy?
Speech and language therapy may help people who have difficulty communicating and expressing themselves.
Speech disorders occur when a person has difficulty producing sounds correctly or fluently. Speech disorders include difficulty in articulation, fluency, resonance or voice.
Individuals experience speech disorders such as aphasia after their first ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke happens when a blockage disrupts blood flow to a region of the brain. Aphasia results when the disruption occurs in the brain's language centers, causing impairment in verbal language expression or comprehension, written expression and reading comprehension depending on an individual’s unique set of symptoms.
Language disorders occur when a person has difficulty understanding, putting words together or sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings. Language disorders can either be receptive or expressive. A person with receptive language disorder has trouble understanding what others say, while a person with expressive language disorder has difficulty conveying and sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) or speech therapists are certified professionals who work with patients with speech and language disorders to prevent, assess, diagnose and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication and swallowing/feeding disorders.
What Does a Speech Therapist Do?
Diagnosing a speech and language disorder may sometimes require more than listening to someone's speech. SLPs usually work with patients one-on-one, in a small group or a classroom setting. An SLP may need to perform more tests to make a correct diagnosis, including the following:
- Evaluate levels of speech, language or swallowing difficulty
- Identify treatment options
- Create and carry out an individualized treatment plan that addresses specific functional needs
- Teach children and adults how to make sounds and improve their voices and maintain fluency
- Help individuals improve vocabulary and sentence structure used in oral and written language
- Work with children and adults to develop and strengthen the muscles used to swallow
- Counsel individuals and families on how to cope with communication and swallowing disorders
What Conditions Require Speech Therapy?
Several types of speech disorders can be treated with speech and language therapy.
- Aphasia – an acquired communication disorder resulting from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. It can affect a person's ability to express and understand language as well as read and write. The leading cause of aphasia is stroke.
- Apraxia – a neurological disorder from birth characterized by a child's inability to coordinate mouth and speech movements.
- Cognitive communication disorders – refer to difficulty organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning or problem-solving. These disorders may result from a stroke, traumatic brain injury or dementia.
- Dysarthria – a motor speech disorder caused by weak muscles due to brain damage. Weak muscles in the face, lips, tongue and throat can make it hard for a person to talk. Neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, stroke or multiple sclerosis may likely cause dysarthria.
- Dysphagia – refers to feeding or swallowing disorders, which may follow an illness, surgery, stroke or injury.
- Social communication disorders – occur when a person has difficulty using verbal and nonverbal communication, such as greeting, commenting and asking questions. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury, may have social communication disorders.
- Stuttering – is a speech disorder characterized by the repetition of sounds, syllables or words, including prolongation of sounds and interruptions in speech, known as blocks. A person who stutters has trouble speaking clearly or in a manner that flows naturally even if they know exactly what they want to stay.
What Are the Different Types of Speech Therapy?
Speech Therapy for Adults
- Social communication – use of comic strip illustrations, conversation exercises to improve communication, role play in a group setting, storytelling, memory activities and
- Breathing exercises – assist with laryngeal and respiratory control
- Mouth exercises – improve functions of oral muscles, including the tongue, lip and jaw to help improve communication
- Swallowing exercises – include exercises of the lips, jaw, tongue, soft palate, pharynx, larynx, or respiratory muscles to improve function to help individuals with Parkinson's disease, oral cancer, stroke or swallowing difficulties manage their symptoms
Speech Therapy for Children
- Language intervention activities – use pictures, books, objects or actions that help stimulate language development and interaction. SLPs may demonstrate correct vocabulary and grammar and use repetitive exercises to build language skills.
- Articulation therapy – involves exercises that demonstrate correct sounds and syllables in words and sentences, often during age-appropriate play activities depending on the child's specific needs
- Oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy – uses a variety of oral exercises, facial massage and various tongue, lip and jaw exercises to strengthen the muscles of the mouth for eating, drinking and swallowing
Why Choose Baptist Health System's Outpatient Rehabilitation Services?
- We offer numerous options for outpatient rehabilitation services at multiple locations in San Antonio, New Braunfels and the surrounding area.
- We offer caring and compassionate treatment options, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services.
Speech Therapy Services Offered at Healthlink
- Post-stroke speech and swallow evaluation and treatment
- Communication evaluations and treatments
- Cognitive evaluation and treatments
Getting Started with Speech Therapy
You must first get a recommendation from your treating physician to properly assess you or your child's eligibility.
We accept a variety of medical insurance plans at Baptist Health System so you can get the care you need for your condition. For questions about your coverage, contact your insurance provider directly or see this page for your billing and insurance questions. If you have specific questions regarding insurance coverage at Baptist Health System, call us at 888-707-0664.
Find a Speech Therapist in San Antonio
Healthlink Outpatient Rehab offers personalized treatment for both acute and chronic conditions. To learn more about our Healthlink outpatient rehabilitation facilities, please see this page or call 210-297–9907.
Overcoming a speech or language disability can take time. When you visit any of our Healthlink facilities, you'll find that we have the same goal—to help people be able to communicate their ideas and feelings for life through compassionate service and expertise.
If you recently had a stroke, your doctor might recommend stabilizing your condition first before creating a rehabilitation plan that works best for you. Make sure to take your medications correctly and on time, and if you experience new or worsening symptoms during the program, immediately call 911.