Neurodegenerative Diseases

Experiencing speech or swallowing difficulties due to neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, etc.)?

Gain confidence your communication abilities and swallow safely through our speech therapists.

Stay Confident with Every Word

Degenerative diseases are generally known as diseases that get worse over time. It also affects various aspects of someone’s life. For example, Alzheimer’s and Dementia can affect a loved one’s cognitive function.

Another classification is neurodegenerative diseases, that causes weakened or damaged nerves. This affects someone’s ability for movement and even the production of speech sounds.

If you have Parkinson’s, ALS, MS or another neurodegenerative disease, it is still possible for you or your loved one to be confident when speaking by…

lessening slurred speech
reduce monotonous pitch when speaking
practice using facial expressions
having a stronger voice when speaking
resolve a strained, breathy or hoarse voice
decrease nasal sounding speech
… through speech therapy. Our speech therapists can help with overcoming speech difficulties and increase confidence in speaking.

Can degenerative diseases be stopped or reversed?

Currently these diseases are under research, and usually there is no absolute treatment. However, therapy can help ease and improve many of the symptoms that come with it and improve quality of life.

Speech therapy in particular can help with retaining oral communication. In case severe cases, your speech-language pathologist can also introduce alternative communication devices.

Speech-language pathology also helps in reducing the risk of choking while eating and swallowing.

What are degenerative diseases

What are degenerative diseases?

Degenerative diseases often cause damage to a person’s body overtime. They may cause certain cells to lose their function, slow down regeneration or die out. As a result, the brain can’t communicate well with the body.

Motor disorders and muscle weakness are common effects. There are many varieties to these diseases, depending on how it affects the body:

Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a disorder that affects the brain’s basal ganglia, which handles movement. The nerve cells in this area of the brain become impaired. They also don’t produce enough dopamine, which is essential to brain.
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a progressive disease that affects the neurons in the spinal cord. The motor neurons become damaged and they stop sending messages to the muscles in the body.
MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
Multiple sclerosis is when the immune system attacks the myelin sheath which protects the nerve cells. Without this substance, the neurons in the brain and spinal cord may not fire messages correctly. This results in muscle weakness or lack of control.
What are degenerative diseases

How do neurodegenerative diseases affect speech?

Many of these neurodegenerative diseases affect the body as a whole. They are known to affect gross motor skills such as walking. However, it also affects the muscles associated with speech and swallowing (lips, tongue, soft palate and vocal cords).

Increasing communication issues make daily activities difficult. Speech-language pathology addresses these challenging aspects of communication (via speech therapy) and in eating activities (via swallowing therapy).

Dysarthria

Dysarthria

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder where someone has a hard time speaking due to weak muscles. Neurodegenerative diseases affect motor skills and may exhibit unclear speech.

Speech-language pathologists may focus on the oral motor skills in therapy. They may teach you and your loved one proper techniques for achieving clearer speech.

They can also introduce augmentative and assistive devices (or AACs) to help with communication. Voice amplifiers for example can help in producing a louder voice.

Dysarthria
Swallowing

Swallowing/Choking/Dysphagia

Complex activities such as swallowing may also be hard to do when nerve damage is involved. Dysphagia is a motor disorder that affects someone’s ability to swallow.

If untreated, dysphagia can lead to the risk of choking or even aspiration, where food or liquids go into the airway instead of the stomach. More severe dysphagia may also result in recommendations to use a feeding tube.

Speech therapists can help with safely using the muscles necessary for swallowing. Posture and positioning guides while eating can help as well as dietary suggestions for foods that are easier to intake.

OUR SERVICES

How Apheleia Speech Therapy Can Help

Online speech-language therapy will help ease the process of stroke recovery at home for you and your loved one. Our speech therapists will aid you in supporting your loved one’s speech and language recovery.
speech therapy - neurodegenerative diseases

Speech Therapy

Our licensed speech pathologist can help you retain your communication skills longer. They may also assist in providing alternative communication devices. Our aim is for the person affected to feel more confident in making natural speech.

swallowing - neurodegenerative disease

Swallowing Therapy

Therapy will help introduce proper eating habits to reduce the risk of choking. Our speech therapist will also help with recommendations for swallowing exercises and diet.

Lauren Templeton - Owner and Speech-Language Pathologist at Apheleia Speech Therapy

Lauren Templeton

Owner & Speech-Language Pathologist

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