The UConn Health Speech-Language Pathologists in the Department of Rehabilitation Services are dedicated to the clinical care of individuals with speech, language, cognition, voice, fluency, and swallowing disorders.
Our therapists complete a comprehensive evaluation and create individualized treatment plans based upon your individual condition, needs and goals.
Swallowing problems, or dysphagia, have been found to occur in approximately 13 to 14 percent of all hospitalized patients, 40 to 50 percent of patients in nursing homes and approximately 33 percent of the patients in rehabilitation centers. Among the more common reasons for swallowing problems are sudden onset neurologic damage (e.g., stroke, head injury or spinal cord injury), progressive neurologic disease (e.g., Parkinson's disease, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis), and head and neck tumors and their treatment.
Our therapists provide complete diagnostic and therapeutic intervention including videofluoroscopy (MBS) and fiberoptic endoscopic examination of the swallow (FEES). Adult clinical assessments are conducted routinely both for the head and neck population and for patients with disorders related to trauma, neurogenic etiologies, and laryngeal incompetence. Treatments include:
- Compensatory Posturing
- Thermal Tactile Stimulation
- Therapy Techniques/Exercises
Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancers account for approximately 3 to 5 percent of all cancers. Their origins can occur in the oral cavity (mouth), salivary glands, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), and/or lymph nodes in the upper part of the neck. Considerations for the patient's plan of treatment may include factors such as the location of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, and the person's age and general health.
Speech and swallowing difficulties may arise from surgery (e.g., total laryngectomy, hemilaryngectomy, total/partial glossectomy, mandibulotomy, etc.) and/or chemoradiation therapy. Patients with speech difficulties may complain about slurred speech or difficulty articulating sounds, words, and/or sentences. Patients with swallowing difficulties may complain about coughing or choking while eating, difficulty chewing foods, painful swallowing, and/or significant weight loss.
We have a speech-language pathologist who also holds a certification in manual lymph drainage and who can assess and treat patients with cancer-related lymphedema.
Stroke and other neurological diseases can affect all aspects of life – movement, communications, thinking, and such automatic functions as swallowing and breathing. Depending on the severity of a stroke and areas of the brain affected, recovery can be an extended process. At UConn Health our speech pathologists draw upon evidence-based therapies to help you or your loved one in the recovery process. We provide care and resources to those challenged by stroke and other neurological disorders, including: ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, traumatic brain injury, and other adult neurological disorders.
Voice therapy is an approach to treating voice disorders that involves vocal and physical exercises coupled with behavioral changes. The purpose of voice therapy is to help you attain the best possible voice and the most relief from the vocal symptoms that are bothering you. Prior to beginning your treatment, it is vital that you are evaluated by an ear, nose, and throat physician (ENT). This will provide a firm diagnosis and area where treatment is to begin.