What is Speech Therapy and How Can it Help Adults?


Speech therapy (also known as speech-language pathology) is a clinical program that consists of treatment, support, and care for those who have difficulties with communication. Speech-language pathology addresses both speech and language disorders. 

A speech disorder is the inability to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently. A person with a speech disorder might also have difficulty with resonance, loudness and pitch, or articulation. 

A language disorder is difficulty understanding others (receptive) or expressing thoughts, feelings, and ideas. This individual might have a comprehension deficit, difficulty putting words together, or an inability to use language appropriately.  

Speech-language pathology can also help individuals who have difficulties eating, drinking, or swallowing. 

Adults can develop speech-language disorders, too.  

Most people associate speech therapy with children who lisp or stutter. While it is true that roughly 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders, many adults also develop speech-language disorders. The following causes and resulting disorders are just a sample of some that develop in adulthood:

  • Cancer of the larynx or physical trauma and injury can cause phonation (sound producing) disorders.
  • Apraxia of speech (an inability to say things correctly and consistently) can develop in adults due to brain damage. 
  • Stroke, head injury, and seizures can lead to expressive language disorders.
  • Head injury, stroke, brain tumor, and dementia can also lead to aphasia disorders (difficulty remembering). 
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) can develop in older adults and patients who have had strokes.  

Speech-language pathologists can help

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), or speech therapists, are trained to evaluate and treat speech and language disorders. 

Speech language pathologists treat problems with:

  • Speaking, reading, writing, or using numbers due to stroke or brain injury.
  • Problems controlling mouth muscles to speak clearly.
  • Problems with memory, reasoning, problem solving, attention. 
  • Weakness or tightness in speech muscles that cause slurred or very quiet speech that’s hard to understand.
  • Changes in pitch, hoarseness, and other voice disorders.
  • Problems chewing or swallowing. 

You might be surprised to hear this:

  • 84% of people with a speech disorder make progress with the help of speech-language pathologists in a hospital or rehab. 
  • 81% of people with language problems after a stroke make improvements with outpatient speech-language pathology services.
  • Over half of people in the hospital setting no longer need a feeding tube after receiving swallowing treatment from a speech-language pathologist.  

Let our speech therapists help you or your loved one.

At Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego, our speech-language pathologists are devoted to the care of our patients and will see to it that you or your loved one get the highest quality care. 

Each of our SLPs is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), holds a master’s or doctoral degree in speech-language pathology, has completed post-graduate clinical work, and passed a national examination. In addition, the speech-language therapists at Bella Vista have the kind of experience, compassion, and professional manner we know you’ll find comforting. 

Whether you or your loved one is in need of short-term therapy or long-term care, please give us a call or come in to our Lemon Grove facility. Our team will be happy to answer your questions or show you around.