SMALL STEPS, EVERY DAY.
The brain is capable of "neuroplasticity," or the ability of the brain to undergo structural and physiological changes. This plasticity exists from cradle to the grave, and radical improvements in function are possible, even in the geriatric population.
FOCUS ON FUNCTION.
Research tells us that people perform better when their therapeutic intervention fits within the context of their real lives. It should be interesting and motivating so that it is routinely practiced.
INTENSITY IS KEY.
Early intensive rehabilitation improves functional outcomes. Don't let the insurance company dictate how much therapy your loved one receives. Let's help your loved one improve his/her functional independence, for as long as deemed necessary.
Alison earned a Bachelors Degree from Loyola College in Maryland (2008) and Master's Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Hofstra University (2010). She holds the Certificate for Clinical Competence through the American Speech and Hearing Association. Alison is licensed through New York State as a Speech Language Pathologist and is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist through the Brain Injury Association of America. She has a concentration in the medical aspect of speech-pathology, encompassing the treatment of acquired disorders of language, motor speech, swallowing, and cognition post-neurological injury or secondary to neurodegerative disease. Alison spent much of her professional career working at one of the top ten rehabilitation programs in the country, and has presented at both the state and the national levels in her field of interest.
Aphasia is an acquired impairment of language affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. Aphasia can be so severe that communication with your loved one is almost impossible, or it can be very mild, such as difficulty finding your words at times in conversation. More commonly, multiple aspects of communication are impaired.
Cognitive-linguistic disorders are problems with communication resulting from impaired functioning in attention, orientation, perception, memory, insight/judgement, problem solving, processing speed, reasoning, and/or executive functioning. All of these processes work together, and deficits can impact communicative abilities and functional independence.
Motor speech disorders include two primary categories, apraxia and dysarthria. Apraxia involves difficulty in planning, sequencing and/or coordinating relevant muscle groups for speech production. Dysarthria involves a disturbance in muscle control that results in weakness, slowness, or incoordination of speech production.
Neurologic voice disorders can occur as part of an underlying neurologic condition such as Parkinson's disease, MS, or ALS. They can also happen as a result of stroke or injury to the brain. These disorders can affect the strength of the muscles used for speech production and the control of one's voice.
Difficulty swallowing, know as "dysphagia," is often a result of neurological injury (stroke, TBI), neurodegenerative disease (PD, ALS, MS), or head & neck cancer. Disorders of swallowing can result in aspiration of food and liquid into the lungs.
Tracheostomy placement is associated with prolonged need for mechanical ventilation in the early stages of stroke/brain injury. Pre-existing conditions, such as COPD, asthma, and sleep apnea, can make safe removal of the tracheostomy tube difficult. A speech-language pathologist can also assist in post-laryngectomy stoma care and speech training.