Speech Therapy for Adults?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs, also known as “speech therapists”) are well-known for “helping kids learn to talk.” What you might not know is that many speech therapists choose to work with adults and have different, more mature goals. I help adults age 18 to 118 with communication, thinking, safely eating and drinking, and when needed, help them to approach the end of life with dignity and special care.

As we age, we have areas of small, gradual, normal losses. What is different than normal though, can be heard in the statements you see below. Sometimes these comments are made and then fixed with a minor adjustment in lifestyle or equipment (for example, using hearing aids). Often, however, these statements reflect a deeper area of need that requires the skilled help of a therapist, someone trained to directly work on these areas of concern.

Do you recognize yourself or your loved one in these quotes?

 Speech

“People don’t understand me when I talk.”

“Her speech is slurred.”

Language

Expressive: “I was telling my friend about the … well … um … “

Receptive: “He got confused with the directions to your house.”

Voice

“What did you say? I couldn’t hear you.”

“I have to repeat myself all the time. He says I’m too quiet.”

Cognitive-Communication

“It’s hard to                      , but it used to be easy for me!”

“I’m forgetting things I need to remember.”

Swallowing

“I cough when I drink water.”

“I don’t eat                       anymore because it gets stuck.”

End of Life

As your loved one nears the end of his or her life, it can be emotionally heartbreaking to watch. You want to help in any way you can. Perhaps you have questions that no one seems to be able to answer, such as “Why does he not want to eat?” or “What can I do or say to make this easier for her?”

These are tough questions. I may not have all the answers you seek, but I do have experience in and a deep thankfulness for providing end-of-life care. I have discovered that, while the end of life can be scary and sad, it can also be beautiful, peaceful, and filled with dignity. If you need this specialized care for a loved one, I would be honored to help you on the journey.

Michelle Underhill, MA, CCC-SLP