While the SLP is concerned with the pathology, which is study of the nature of disease, causes and consequences, in all areas of speech and language, it can sometimes be easy for others to understand this portion as the structure and function of the body that might be assessed in an evaluation.
Oral Peripheral Examination
An oral peripheral exam is a medical evaluation designed to assess the physical condition and function of the mouth, and related structures for speaking and eating. The features assessed include: lips, teeth, checks, tongue, jaw, throat, hard palate, soft palate, general breath support and tonsils. Movement, strength and coordination will be assessed. Speech and eating require high levels or motor planning, a degree of strength and appropriate breathing for everything to work smoothly.
If there are concerns regarding the structure or function during the evaluation referrals to additional professionals may be warranted.
Dysphagia and Feeding Disorders
Swallowing disorders include difficulties in any system of the swallowing process (i.e. oral, pharyngeal, esophageal), as well as functional dysphagia and feeding disorders. Swallowing disorders can occur at any age and can stem from multiple causes. Feeding disorders include problems preparing or executing when chewing, sucking, or swallowing. Feeding aversions that are significant enough to impact adequate oral nutritional intake may also require therapeutic intervention. Since eating is a necessity for survival and a large part of our culture problems in this area can significantly impact a family’s daily life. Therapy targets safely eating and drinking a variety of foods and consistencies.
Additional professionals or evaluations are often required to rule out any underlying medical causes prior to starting feeding therapies or swallowing therapies.
Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder. It results from impaired movement of the muscles used for speech production, including the lips, tongue, vocal folds, and/or diaphragm. The type and severity of dysarthria depend on which area of the nervous system is affected. Compensatory strategies can help a child articulate more clearly to help increase intelligibility.