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Individuals with difficulty swallowing are seen for individual evaluation using clinical dysphagia evaluations, modified barium swallow evaluations (MBS) and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluations of swallowing (FEES). Referring clinicians are encouraged to participate in the assessment process.
Our approach to dysphagia management focuses on optimizing the patient's ability to maintain their nutrition and hydration needs. Our assessment will consider all of the variables that affect the patient's ability to meet this goal including oral care, level of independence in daily activities, medication and quality of life needs. Referring clinicians are encouraged to participate in the assessment process.
Aphasia, Cognitive and Communication Services
We offer comprehensive evaluation services. Treatment programs are designed based on individual needs and may include:
- Individual treatment
- Computer-based treatment
- Prescription and use of augmentative communication systems
- Development of home treatment programs
- Aphasia Book Club
- Communication Enrichment Course
Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT)
HSC has a clinician certified in the LSVT program. This program is intended to treat the speech and voice changes often associated with Parkinson's Disease and other neurological disorders. Please call 860.827.1958 ext. 2035 for additional information on this specialized program.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication at Hospital for Special Care
We provide services in the evaluation, prescription and treatment of augmentative communication for individuals who cannot use speech to communicate all their needs effectively. HSC has a wide repertoire of evaluation tools and augmentative communication systems to use during the assessment process. We work closely with a variety of vendors to explore the systems that best meet the patient's needs. Our evaluation will provide the patient with the documentation and guidance necessary to pursue funding options for purchase of the recommended equipment when needed. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions, gestures, use symbols, pictures or write. People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional.
A range of AAC strategies are available depending on individual abilities and needs. However, the goal of AAC always remains the same: to provide the supports and services that result in the most effective communication possible. Here is a basic list of AAC strategies that may be recommended: No-Tech Strategies: gestures and pointing, talking slowly and exaggerated speech movements Low-Tech Strategies:
- No-Tech Strategies: gestures and pointing, talking slowly and exaggerated speech movements
- Low-Tech Strategies: manual communication boards, eye gaze boards and laser light pointers on alphabet boards
- High-Tech Strategies: computers and speech generating devices
Commonly Asked Questions about AAC
What types of patients use AAC?
Individuals with a variety of medical diagnoses are served including, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Muscular Dystrophy (MD), Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), as well as other neurological disorders.
What is a speech generating device and how will I know which one is right for me?
A speech generating device (SGD) is a term used by Medicare to identify a range of voice output AAC systems. HSC has a wide repertoire of evaluation tools and augmentative communication systems to use during the assessment process. If a specific system is needed, we will contact the vendor to arrange for a demonstration.
How many systems will I use?
Often times, more than one device may be appropriate for a client. The speech-language pathologist (SLP) will be able to discuss the differences between the various systems, including advantages and disadvantages of each system as they relate to your needs.
Who pays for the systems?
The SLP at HSC works closely with vendors to facilitate the funding process. In addition, the SLP has extensive knowledge of alternative funding options and resources if they are needed.
What questions should I ask my speech-language pathologist before participating in an AAC evaluation?
- Do you typically provide services in the area of AAC?
- How long have you worked in the area of AAC?
- Have you worked with anybody who has a similar problem?
- Will you provide services to support my learning to use an AAC system?
- Will you discuss the performance differences among the AAC systems that are being considered for me?
- Will I be able to see actual equipment that might be recommended? If not, where else can I go to see it?
- If you recommend a particular device, will you help me find funding for its purchase?
If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call 860.832.6258. If you have any specific questions or if you would like a tour of the Outpatient Rehabilitation and Aquatic Center, ask to speak with the Outpatient Rehabilitation Manager, or use the Contact Us page to send an email.