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What is Speech Language Therapy?

Speech Language Therapy involves the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of a person’s speech, language, cognition, voice, eating, drinking or swallowing. Such disorders may originate in the brain, ear or anywhere along the vocal tract.

Common treatments may involve activities using words and pictures to assist in communication, physical strengthening exercises, and teaching strategies that help to develop effective communication and make swallowing safer.

Speech language therapists may work in hospital wards or in outpatient departments with babies, children or adults with conditions ranging from feeding difficulties in infants, children with speech or language disorders to adults with communication problems following stroke.

What is a Speech Language Therapist?

Speech Language Therapists are qualified health professionals who work with adults, children or babies with communication disorders and/or difficulty swallowing food and/or drink. Communication disorders can involve impairments of one or more communication modalities, which include speech, writing, reading, signs, symbols and gestures.

Counties Manukau Health Speech Language Therapists can provide: 

  • assessment and differential diagnosis of communication and/or swallowing difficulty
  • intervention, which may be therapy and/or management
  • information, education, advice, and support to patients, carers and families
  • interdisciplinary casework management with the wider clinical team
  • collaboration and liaison with community groups such as the Volunteer Stroke Scheme, Stroke Association, Parkinson’s NZ, Motor Neuron Disease Association, Talk Link Trust
  • assessment and advice about use of communication aids.

Conditions that may require SLT input include but are not limited to:

  • stroke
  • cancer - head and neck, brain, and lung

  • progressive neurological conditions – such as:
    •  - Parkinson’s Disease / Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
    •  - Multiple Systems Atrophy
    •  - Huntington’s disease
    •  - Motor Neuron Disease
    •  - Multiple Sclerosis
    •  - Dementia
    •  - Primary Progressive Aphasia
    •  - Friedreich’s Ataxia
    •  - Muscular Dystrophy
  • intellectual disability (dysphagia cases)

  • trauma to head and neck or spine

  • congenital conditions.

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • palliative care.

Exclusions:

Children (can be referred to the Ministry of Education, Special Education services, or Kidz First Child Development Team).

Residents in a Private Hospital or Rest Home. Speech-Language Therapy services need to be contracted privately by the Resthome/Private Hospital. Private therapists can be found on: www.speechtherapy.org.nz

More Information

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