How a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) Can Help
The speech-language pathologist assists with problem-solving and developing strategies to preserve and promote safe swallowing. Early intervention and involvement is best to promote and maintain the safe swallowing throughout the course of the disease.
Treatment / Management
Your SLP may suggest any of the following:
- Muscle exercises to strengthen weak facial muscles or to improve coordination
- Learning to eat in a special way
- Preparing food in a certain way or avoiding certain foods
- Thickening liquids
- Avoiding certain foods. Read Tips For Swallowing More Safely
In some rare cases, it may not be possible to consume foods and liquids by mouth. People with this problem must use other methods to nourish their bodies. Usually this involves a feeding system, such as a feeding tube, that bypasses the part of the swallowing mechanism that is not working normally.
How to Find a Speech Language Pathologist?
Generally the treating physician provides the referral). The SLP will coordinate with your overall health care providers and may possibly be covered by your medical insurance.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) provides an online directory of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Programs. Their searchable database contains listings of more than 7,000 programs that employ audiologists and speech-language pathologists who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA. Find a speech-language pathologist at ASHA.