Cleveland Clinic’s experts will work with you to accomplish your speech goals. We can help you build voice strength and control. We can also help with any swallowing issues you might have from an illness, surgery or neurological condition. No matter what brought you here, our experts are ready to help you communicate with confidence.
Why choose Cleveland Clinic for Speech Therapy?
Our doctors, surgeons and speech pathologists work together to treat the most complex speech and swallowing problems. Each of our speech-language pathologists has earned a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Meet our team.
We know that every person — and every speech therapy challenge — is unique. From diagnosis to treatment to follow-up visits, we tailor a personalized plan for your care.
Our experts use techniques and technologies that offer hope. We strengthen your communication skills, voice and how well you can swallow as quickly and completely as possible.
Comfort and convenience:
We offer speech therapy services at many locations near you. Or ask your speech therapist if a virtual visit is right for you. Virtual visits let you meet with your therapist from the comfort of home using your smartphone, tablet or computer.
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has also named us a top hospital in the world.
Conditions We Treat with Speech Therapy at Cleveland Clinic
There are many reasons you might need help with your speech. Our speech therapists treat communication and swallowing issues caused by:
- Head and neck cancer.
- Neurologic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.
- Problems with your mouth or tongue, including oral cancer.
- Surgery, including larynx removal (laryngectomy).
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Our speech therapists will craft personalized therapies to help you with specific speech, language, cognitive, voice and swallowing conditions, including:
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).
- Voice disorders (including vocal cord dysfunction and vocal cord lesions).
21 Speech-Language Pathologists Offering Care
- Martin Brodsky, PhD, ScM, CCC-SLP.
- Rachel Barrocas, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Emily Fitzpatrick, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Brian J. Hedman, MA, CCC-SLP.
- Beth Hohman, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Joann Kmiecik, MA, CCC-SLP.
- Kim Lewin, MA, CCC-SLP.
- Lauren Morse, MA, CCC-SLP.
- Amy Rosneck, MA, CCC-SLP.
- Molly Smeltzer, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Michelle York, MA, CCC-SLP.
- Jeanene Alessi-Graziano, M.S. CCC-SLP.
- Shoshana Bielich, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS.
- Melissa Grassia-Chisholm, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Britany Hendrix, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Jimena Ojeda MA CCC-SLP, CBIS.
- Ashtyn Wastchak, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Michelle Adessa, BM, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Bethany Beckham, MA, CCC-SLP.
- Emma Laurash, MS, CCC-SLP.
- Claudio F. Milstein, PhD, CCC-SLP.
- Laura M. Dominguez, MD.
- Melissa Grassia-Chisholm, MS, CCC-SLP.
Speech Therapy Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
The right treatment plan starts with finding out exactly what’s going on. Our experts talk with you and your loved ones to understand your medical history and your concerns. We may recommend:
Diagnostic testing for communication problems
Our speech therapists use screenings and tests to see how you communicate and understand language. We check for:
- Articulation (how you say words).
- Comprehension (your ability to understand spoken and written words).
- Expression (your ability to use the correct words and to write).
- Jaw, mouth and tongue structure and muscle strength.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend imaging tests to check your head and neck, including your vocal cords. These tests include:
Diagnostic testing for swallowing problems
If you’re having trouble swallowing, our speech therapists may recommend:
- Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES): We put a thin, flexible instrument (endoscope) through your nose to the top of your throat. Then, we have you drink or eat different liquids and foods to check how you swallow.
- Modified barium swallow (video fluoroscopic swallowing exam): Our speech pathologists have you drink liquids and eat foods mixed with barium contrast material. This helps us see your tissues during X-rays. We record images as you swallow so we can see where swallowing problems happen.
- Upper endoscopy: Our gastroenterology specialists put an endoscope into your mouth and throat to look at your esophagus and stomach. Upper endoscopy gives us more information about how you swallow.
Speech Therapy Treatments at Cleveland Clinic
Our expert speech therapists use different tools and techniques to treat problems with comprehension, speaking and swallowing. Sometimes, you may start treatment while you’re in the hospital after an illness or surgery. You may also have speech therapy at a medical office building, speech therapist’s office or virtually. We offer:
Speech therapy after chemotherapy, radiation or surgery
Our specialists meet with you before chemotherapy, radiation or surgery so you know what to expect. We offer therapies to help you recover from procedures or treatments that affect how you speak or swallow, including:
- Jaw surgery and reconstruction.
- Vocal cord removal.
- Voice box removal (total laryngectomy).
During total laryngectomy, your surgeon creates a hole at the front of your neck (stoma). They place a small valve called a tracheoesophageal prosthesis (TEP) that sits between your trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (food pipe). Air from your lungs travels through this valve and vibrates a muscle in your esophagus to create a new voice. We help you learn to use these vibrations to speak.
Speech therapy for comprehension and language
Our speech-language pathologists use special therapies to help you with language and comprehension. We’ll work with you one-on-one and teach you communication skills using:
- Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): We use things like pictures or objects to help you communicate if talking is hard or not an option.
- Computer and video-aided instruction: We use computers to improve your language and comprehension. We also use recorded materials to show examples of good communication skills.
Sometimes brain or nervous system conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or stroke can make swallowing difficult (dysphagia). So can muscle disorders, like muscular dystrophy. Chemotherapy, radiation or surgery for cancer of the mouth or throat can also make it hard to swallow. Our speech therapy experts offer:
- Coping strategies: We teach you how to position your chin and head to make swallowing easier. We show you how to take smaller bites and sips — and other ways to swallow more safely.
- Diet recommendations: Our therapists recommend strategies like eating soft or pureed foods to make swallowing more comfortable.
- Oral motor exercises: We teach you exercises to strengthen your tongue and mouth muscles to help with swallowing.
Voice Therapy at Cleveland Clinic
Our skilled speech therapists use voice therapy techniques to help make your voice clear, strong and less hoarse. We put together individualized treatment plans that focus on relieving dysphonia (a disorder that changes the way your voice sounds when you speak) through:
- Proper breathing techniques to control air flow.
- Exercises to improve vocal sounds and build muscle strength.
- Vocal hygiene practices, like drinking enough water and changing how loudly you speak.
Taking the Next Steps
Communication is such an important part of everyday life. Not being able to express yourself well through speech or understand what is being said can be really frustrating and isolating. Speech therapy can help you overcome those barriers. Our experts can also help you learn how to cope with swallowing problems that are sometimes a side effect of a serious illness or injury. Give us a call today.
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