Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders. Depending on the particular patient, this involves issues of language, speech, voice, hearing and swallowing.
The speech therapy department at Hospital Ochoa is staffed by six medical practitioners with multidisciplinary expertise in speech therapy, audiology, psychology, pedagogy and specialised teaching.
Speech therapy for children
Hospital Ochoa’s speech therapy department treats children with:
- Specific language impairment (SLI).
- Verbal expression and pronunciation issues: dysarthria, dyslalia and dysglossia.
- Reading and writing issues: dyslexia and dysgraphia.
- Expressive and comprehensive language issues: aphasia.
- Problems breathing, sucking, chewing and swallowing.
- Auditory deficiencies.
- Maturational delay (developmental language delay).
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Speech therapy for adults
Speech impairments in adults may be caused by an injury or illness, such as a stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Therapy begins with assessment to determine the patient’s particular needs and optimum treatment.
In situations where a patient suspects that they are not hearing correctly, or they have been referred by an ENT doctor (otolaryngologist), the speech therapy department at Hospital Ochoa is able to carry out a hearing evaluation and provide an audiological diagnosis.
One of the most common warning signs in children is language delay. Other symptoms include inability to relate to their peers, difficulty in assimilating information they receive in class, or not following usual guidelines.
In adults, issues are usually derived from another health issue such as a stroke, the effects of which can cause aphasia. In the case of senile dementia, patients may experience an isolated instance of memory loss or disorientation that may develop into severe cognitive impairment in the future.
Hospital Ochoa’s speech therapy department performs various tests, including:
- Pure-tone audiometry. Used to determine hearing sensitivity for pure tones in each ear, both via air and bone conduction.
- Speech audiometry. Performed in a sound-dampening booth with headphones that assess each ear independently. A transducer is used when it is necessary to measure sound discrimination by bone conduction.
- Play audiometry. Applied on children and performed by playtime using prize-rewards as incentives. Its conditioning is instrumental.
- Tympanometry. Used to study the middle ear, the mobility of the eardrum and the conductive ossicles. It is performed with the aid of a tympanometer that alters the ear pressure in order to measure the eardrum’s responses to changing sounds at different pressures.
In addition to the above diagnostic hearing tests, assessments are also conducted for language development and communication issues. These include the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA), the Childhood Neuropsychological Maturity Questionnaire (CUMANIN), or the Battelle Developmental Inventory.