Speech therapy involves treating conditions that affect a person’s ability to communicate, eat, and/or swallow.  It is typically provided by a speech-language pathologist (SLP), who, depending on the patient’s condition, may work with a psychologist, physiotherapist, or psychiatrist.

Speech therapy for seniors is often necessary when recovering from the debilitating events such as an head, face, or throat injury, or a stroke, brain tumor, brain hemorrhage, or neural disorder. It may be necessary to due to diseases impacting the nervous system (such as Parkinson’s) or loss of mental faculties (such as dementia).  Difficulty in swallowing my be due to stroke, pneumonia, changes in physical attributes (such as teeth,  gums, or shape of the mouth) , or even “dry mouth” from aging or as a side effect from taking medication.

Speech therapy for language disorders starts with determining the extent of the disorder, exploring the underlying cause, addressing the cause with the patient, and then using a variety of exercises to help the patient overcome the disorder.

Types and Causes of Speech Disorders that Speech Therapy can Address

Below are some of the most common types and causes of speech disorders that speech therapy can address.

Name Symptoms Common Causes Techniques
Aphasia Trouble finding the right word for thoughts, or speech is halting or unclear. Brain injury; brain tumor; stroke; brain hemorrhage Helping patient to concentrate in order to find the right words, as well as respond to verbal and vocal cues.
Apraxia Using words out of order and/or having trouble moving lips correctly to form words. Brain injury; brain tumor; stroke; brain hemorrhage Asking patient to repeat certain sounds, and then try to make those sounds into words. Asking the patient to speak slowly, at least at first, in order to make the words, or say them in the correct order.
Dysphagia Difficulty swallowing Stroke; bouts of pneumonia; changes in teeth, gums and shape of mouth; “dry mouth” from aging or as a side effect from taking medication. Recommending special positions for eating, certain foods, or modified utensils.
Dysarthria Slow rate of speech, speech that is mumbled, slurred, or hard to understand. Diseases impacting nervous system, such as Parkinson’s. Having patient work on tongue and lip movement, breathing techniques, and speaking more slowly to have time to form words.
Dementia Difficulty finding the right words, particularly the names of people.  Substituting incorrect words, or not finding the words at all. Loss of mental faculties with age. Teaching person to rely more on visual clues, simple words, familiar sounds, and so forth.

It is important to realize when thinking about speech that there are many functions that go into speech, including:

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Comprehension
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Visual processing
  • Problem-solving

Your speech therapist and you will work together to identify on which of these areas of speech you will need to work, and developing and carrying out the appropriate speech therapy exercises.

Sampling of Representative Speech Therapy Products

Below is a sampling of products and equipment that are designed to assist in speech therapy. Click on the links to find out more information, see other products selections, and if you like, to make a purchase from one of our providers.

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399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young.

Cross-train your brain. All it takes is ten to fifteen minutes a day of playing the right games. (It’s fun.) Exercising your brain is like exercising your body—with the right program, you can keep your brain young, strong, agile, and adaptable. Organized on an increasing scale of difficulty from “Warm-up” to “Merciless,” here are 399 puzzles, trivia quizzes, brainteasers, and word game that are both fun and engaging to play, and are expertly designed to give your brain the kind of workout that stimulates neurogenesis, the process of rejuvenating the brain by growing new brain cells. Target Six Key Cognitive Functions: 1. Long-Term Memory. 2. Working Memory. 3. Executive Functioning. 4. Attention to Detail. 5. Multitasking. 6. Processing Speed.

Conversation Cards – Three-Deck Set – Reminiscence Activity for Alzheimer’s / Dementia / Memory Loss Patients and Caregivers Cards

The Three-Deck Set includes: Familiar Words, Nostalgic Items & Words for Guys Shadowbox Press Conversation Cards are designed to encourage individuals experiencing memory loss to reminisce about a particular aspect or experience from their lives-the events both big and small that helped us become the people we are today. Each deck contains 52 two-sided cards. The front of each card features a large, vivid photograph and the corresponding name of the item printed in bold, large-print text. The back of each card features nine questions-a combination of (4) closed-ended, (2) open-ended, (1) either/or, and (2) "Did you know" trivia questions. The questions are opinion-based-purposely created to have no right or wrong answer. The "Conversation Cards for Adults - Volume 1: Familiar Words" deck includes: alarm clock-apple-autumn leaf-baby-bird-bread-cat-cheese-chocolate-cinnamon-clown-coffee-cookie-corn-crayon-drum-elephant-fan-fire truck-flowers-fortune cookie-fruitcake-garlic-goldfish-horse-ice-ice cream-laundry ... and more. Our latest deck (launched in 2017), "Conversation Cards for Adults - Volume 2: Nostalgic Items" includes: apple pie-baby carriage-balloons-bicycle-books-camera-camper-cap gun-carnival-cast iron skillet-cookie jar-doll-dominoes-drive-in theater-egg beater-fondue-fountain pen-garden gnome ... and more. The "Conversation Cards for Men - Words for Guys" deck includes: bacon-baseball-beer-boat-bowling-boxing-bulldozer-car motor-chili-cigars-convertible-cowboy boots-dartboard-dog-donut-fighter plane-firecrackers-fishing-flannel shirt-football-golf clubs-grill-guitar-hammer-hot sauce-lantern-Las Vegas ... and more. Three decks - 52 cards per deck - 6" x 9"

CreateFun Noun Flash Cards – 50 Educational Vocabulary Builder Picture Cards – 5 Learning Games – Toddlers, Preschool Teachers, Speech Therapy Materials and ESL Teaching Materials

  • MASTER: Nouns and Categories. Ideal for Preschool Prep, Speech Therapy and ELL. Promote clear communication, conversation and development.
  • MODERN FLASHCARDS, Diverse Images, HD Quality Photos, Child and Adult Friendly.
  • IDEAL FOR Kids and Adults: Preschool Prep, Speech Therapy, ELL, Special Education PECS and ABA. With up to 25% more cards than other sets. 50 high quality flashcards 2 instructional cards! Whether you're a parent, teacher or therapist, use these pictures and words to promote clearer communication, critical thinking skills, conversation and reasoning for all ages.
  • IMPROVE YOUR STUDENTS understanding of matching items in the world around them, verbal and listening skills, English language and vocabulary development.
  • LARGE YET COMPACT: Will fit in your pocket! Comes with a wide selection of recognizable, everyday objects. Create games and promote easy learning out of the 5 starter teaching games!

MKgames Social situations – 50 Photo Cards, Learning Products, Speech Therapy for Kids and Adults. Encourages Language Development, Communication and Conversation

  • Social Situations Photo Cards- was developed by an occupational therapist & special needs teacher, experienced in using creative tools for experiential play with their clients. Fun, educational and promotes cognitive skills for players of all ages. Ideal for supporting articulation & communication development.
  • Perfect tool for the professional toolkit of all: therapists, educators, parents, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers for work with patients who have alzheimer's, dementia and autism. Perfect for 1:1 and group work
  • Perfect classroom activity for early learners or special education classrooms. Learning Game and toy Suitable for children and adults with autism, Aspergers, ADHD, dementia, developmental delay, or speech/language delay; or to anyone first learning or re-learning basic language skills
  • Contains: This kit of 50 large and durable photo cards features various social situations to generate conversation. Size 7.7" x 5". Enjoy playing and teaching with this set of high-quality, educational photo cards

The Home Health SLP Handbook: Everything you need to provide speech therapy to adults in the home health setting.

The Home Health SLP Handbook is the one resource that any Speech-Language Pathologist needs to become a home health therapist for adults. Includes 100+ pages of practical treatment guides, 60+ pages of patient handouts, and 30+ pages of evaluation forms, all evidence-based! The handbook also comes with practical guides including: Home Visit Safety, How to Complete an Oasis Evaluation, and Documentation Examples.