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Speech Therapy Helps Patient Overcome Swallowing Disorder

From children learning to talk to adults whose ability to speak or swallow has been impacted by another health condition, speech therapy offers treatments to meet each individual’s goals. In the case of PT Solutions Patient Tom, speech therapy helped diagnose and overcome a swallowing disorder that negatively impacted his life.

Speech Therapy Helps PT Solutions Patient Overcome Swallowing Disorder

Patient Seeks Speech Therapy

In July 2022, Harris Regional Hospital admitted Tom due to severe swallowing difficulties. PT Solutions of Sylva Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) team, Heather Monar and Catherine Overbay, began their diagnosis when he arrived at the hospital. 

An instrumental swallow evaluation revealed severe dysphagia. Dysphagia impacts swallowing, usually due to another health issue such as a stroke, head injury, or dementia. The clinicians proceeded with a feeding tube and inpatient speech therapy to help Tom regain his swallowing function. Tom continued receiving inpatient therapy at our Harris and Swain Hospital locations. He began outpatient therapy right after discharge. 

Patient is Diagnosed With Neurological Condition

The outpatient team noticed that he wasn’t making the expected progress. In fact, he noticed further difficulties, such as unclear speech, fatigue, and increased saliva. The SLPs knew something else, likely neurological, was going on with Tom. 

Our SLP team helped ensure that Tom saw a neurologist as soon as possible. The neurologist diagnosed Tom with a chronic autoimmune disorder that hugely impacted his swallow function. With this diagnosis, he could get on a medication regimen that gave him more endurance. Everyone noted improvement in his secondary symptoms, including swallowing! 

Patient Overcomes Condition With Speech Therapy

Tom faced obstacles on his road to recovery, but now, nine months later, he is back to eating three daily meals. Every day, he notices improvements in his swallowing. The SLP’s teamwork, tenacity, and clinical thinking skills helped Tom overcome his hardship. Tom explained, “I am so thankful that Heather made sure I got into neurology. I wouldn’t be where I am without the two of you.” 

Many people assume speech therapy only deals with the production of sounds. However, speech therapy is for individuals who experience speech, language, or swallowing disorders. SLPs assess, diagnose, and treat communication disorders related to speech, language, cognitive communication, voice, fluency, and swallowing. At PT Solutions, our experienced SLPs use evidence-based practices and customized treatment plans to help individuals of all ages and backgrounds reach their goals. 



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