A speech-language pathologist can treat speech, language, voice, and swallowing disorders. Rhea Medical Center’s speech pathologist, Christy Derlak Akin, is a licensed and certified masters-level clinician with 20+ years of experience and a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Christy works with patients exhibiting symptoms ranging from hoarseness to difficulty swallowing to trouble finding words to poor breathing. A patient must be referred to Christy by his or her physician.
One of the most common issues a speech-language pathologist deals with is dysphasia. An estimated 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from dysphasia, or difficulty and pain while swallowing. Rhea Medical Center offers modified barium swallow studies, which help evaluate swallowing disorders, establish appropriate diet texture and treatment, and rule out the risk of silent aspiration pneumonia. Rhea Medical Center also offers VitalStim Therapy, a non-invasive rehabilitation therapy for dysphasia that uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation to re-educate the throat muscles needed for swallowing.
Evaluations and Treatments:
1. Adult Speech Disorders
dysarthria, voice disorders, paraxial of speech, head and neck cancer, restoration status post-laryngectomy, anomia (word-finding deficits), aphasia
2. Language Disorders
Receptive/expressive aphasia, reading and auditory comprehension, writing deficits as a result of neurological injury or disease
3. Voice Disorders
Aphonia or hoarseness from CA of larynx, s/p laryngectomy, spastic dysphonia, poor focal hygiene, s/p vocal fold papilloma removal, vocal fold paralysis, vocal nodules or polyps, poor diaphragmatic breathing causing poor breath support with speech or singing,
4. Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)
Difficulty swallowing in both oral and pharyngeal stages
- Modified Barium Swallow Studies
Modified Barium Swallow Studies are provided for inpatients or outpatients to evaluate swallowing disorders, establish appropriate diet texture and treatment for improved swallowing function, and rule out the risk of silent aspiration pneumonia.
- VitalStim Therapy
VitalStim Therapy is a non-invasive rehabilitation therapy for dysphasia (difficulty and pain while swallowing) that uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation to re-educate the throat muscles needed for swallowing. Studies show that electrical stimulation is more effective than thermal application for restoring the swallowing function.
- Cognitive Skills Training
Cognitive Skills Training treats damage related to a stroke, head injury or other neurological impairments and includes: memory skills training, attention training, functional math skills training, thought organization training, abstract and deductive reasoning skills training, problem solving training, etc.
Diagnoses may include:
CVA, CHI/TBI, Neurological Disorders (such as Parkinson’s), Dysphagia, Recurrent Pneumonia,
Progressive Weight Loss, Head and Neck Cancer, CHF, COPD, Dementia, Dehydration and Malnutrition