Speech Therapy helps patients with speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing disorders. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), sometimes informally referred to as speech therapists, specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders.

The SLPs employed by Hannibal Regional Hospital have a variety of certifications and areas of expertise and interests. Some of these certifications include VitalStim therapy, the MO First Steps Program, Debra Beckman oral motor program, Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT), Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) evaluations, device recommendations and treatments, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Social Thinking, and working with tracheostomy and ventilator dependent patients.

Where to get Speech Therapy Services

SLPs at Hannibal Regional Hospital provide therapy services not only as inpatient at the hospital but through home health services and as an outpatient as is warranted by the physician. Ask your provider for a referral for home health care. 

Find more information about Home Health Care here.

Speech Therapy Services

SLPs or speech therapists provide a wide range of services based on the individual needs of the patient. Support for the individual being treated and their families is also provided. Speech services begin with an initial assessment and diagnosis of disorder specific to that individual, if appropriate, along with consultation with other healthcare providers regarding management, interventions and treatments, counseling and other follow-up services pertinent to the individual and their diagnosis.

Some disorders/diagnosis seen by SLP includes but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive aspects of communication (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving, executive functions).
  • Speech (phonation, articulation, fluency, resonance, and voice including aeromechanical components of respiration).
  • Language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatic/social aspects of communication) including comprehension and expression in oral, written, graphic, and manual modalities; language processing; preliteracy and language-based literacy skills, phonological awareness.
  • Voice (hoarseness), poor vocal volume (hypophonia), abnormal (e.g. rough, breathy, strained vocal quality), vocal cord dysfunction, vocal cord paralysis. Research demonstrates voice therapy to be especially helpful with certain patient populations; individuals with Parkinson's Disease often develop voice issues as a result of their disease.
  • Sensory awareness related to communication, swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive functions.

SLPs also complete Modified Barium Swallow studies. This is an x-ray that is taken to check swallowing skills. It is performed by a SLP along with a radiologist. During this study, the mouth and throat are checked to ensure they are working and moving properly. This particular study will help the individual, doctor, and the SLP decide what types of foods and liquids are the easiest and safest to swallow. The SLP will also identify positions and ways to help you swallow if any problems are identified.

Treatment Process

Referrals to Speech and Language Pathologists should be made if there are any concerns regarding slow or limited communication development in children, cognition (limited attention, disorganization etc. following by a Traumatic Brain Injury), difficulty with word-finding, errors in speech sound production, or for Augmentative Alternative Communication needs. An order must be written by a physician for an individual to received skilled speech services. Once the order is written, an evaluation will be completed and the therapist will then determine if services are needed.

Support Groups

Even though speech therapy may have stopped, that does not mean the healing process is over. There are multiple support groups available for patients who has suffered the stroke/ Family and friends are also welcome. Below is just a short list of support groups along with more information about life after stroke.

American Stroke Association