When you need comprehensive speech and language services, we’re here to help
If you are experiencing speech and language issues caused by a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders, traumatic brain injury or other medical conditions, specialty services and rehabilitation can dramatically improve your quality of life. Since problems with speech, language and hearing may occur gradually, you may not even realize there’s an issue until a loved one or your doctor suggests that you could benefit from seeing a speech and language professional.
Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) outpatient services at Ellenville Regional Hospital (ERH) give you access to highly skilled evaluation and treatment of delays or disorders in speech, language and swallowing. We work with people of all ages, so children and young adults with speech impairment issues that are affecting their academic success will benefit from our after-school hours too.
Your caregivers and family members are welcome to attend sessions, as they may play a vital role in helping you to practice skills at home.
What types of issues do you most often treat?
We provide comprehensive services to help address common problems such as:
- Feeding and Swallowing Issues (Dysphagia) affect how well you suck, chew and swallow foods and liquids. These problems may lead to poor nutrition, weight loss and other health problems.
- Aphasia (Communication Disorder) affects how well you understand what you hear or read, and how well you use words to tell others what you are thinking.
- Voice Disorders (Dysphonia), also known as ‘hoarse voice,’ are impairments in the vocal organs that are used to produce voice sounds.
- Speech Disorders (Dysarthria) affect how you say sounds or put sounds together into words and are a dysfunction of the muscles that produce speech.
- Fluency Issues (Stuttering) affect how well your speech flows and may involve repeating sounds or long pauses when talking.
How do you diagnose problems?
A wide variety of developmental and health issues may cause difficulties with swallowing and communication. For instance, speech and language problems may be caused by an accident or injury, a birth defect or as the result of treatments for head and neck cancer or other diseases. Traumatic brain injuries from a motor vehicle accident or a fall may affect your ability to stay on schedule or to organize and complete basic life tasks such as making a grocery list.
Our evaluation process begins with a one-on-one assessment, including a history and progression of your problems. We will sit with you to discuss your issues and symptoms related to speaking, swallowing, coughing, saliva management, choking and any foods that cause you difficulty. We’ll observe you as you speak and swallow to understand more fully what you’re experiencing, and conduct a hands-on examination of the muscles used for speaking and swallowing.
The next step may be to perform a Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS) in conjunction with our radiology providers. While you’re sitting upright, a simple test will be done that includes a video recording of your swallowing ability with liquids, pudding and chewable foods. This technique allows us to determine an exact diagnosis, treatment and therapeutic strategies to improve your ability to swallow safely and efficiently.
What kind of treatment and therapy might I receive?
After your diagnosis, you’ll begin personalized sessions to improve your ability to swallow safely and efficiently. This usually involves strengthening the muscles that you use to swallow and speak.
Between sessions at ERH, you may be asked to keep a log of meals consumed or practice basic vocal exercises to improve muscle tone. That’s one reason why it’s often helpful to have a caregiver or loved one participate in at least some of your sessions.
Do you accept referrals?
Yes, we encourage referrals from medical professionals, caregivers, school officials and others.
Working with your provider
If you need additional medical services (such as a prescription for medications), we will work with your provider or refer you to our staff professionals.
Who pays for my treatment?
Medicare and most major health insurers will pay for part of your speech and language pathology services. If you cannot afford to pay, you may be eligible for our financial assistance program. Most insurances are accepted.
Certifications and additional resources
Our program staff is licensed and certified by New York State.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NYSSHLA) websites offer additional information.
Help is close to home
To find out more about the SLP program or to make an appointment (845) 210-3035.