Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP's) work with all ages of individuals whose oral motor, swallowing, cognitive-linguistic, speech, or language skills have been affected by developmental delay, a neurological event/disease, head/neck cancer, or possibly debilitation related to an underlying medical disease process. Speech-Language Pathologists develop an individualized plan of care, tailored to each patient's needs. They evaluate swallowing ability and make recommendations to alter nutritional methods or modify diets based upon aspiration (choking) risk.
They are part of a multidisciplinary team that works toward weaning individuals from ventilators and removing tracheostomy tubes in order to restore functional communicaton and swallowing skills. SLPs may provide treatment techniques that include neuromuscular re-education of voice and swallowing muscles, activities to adjunct communication ability, and cognitive language techniques to restore or adapt communication skills and understanding of language.
They also provide medical speech pathology services and diagnostic studies that examine the function of the muscles of swallowing, the vocal cords, and functional voice including fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, laryngeal videostroboscopy, and modified barium swallow studies.