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    Swallowing and Communication Rehabilitation

    Swallowing and Communication Rehabilitation offers evaluation and treatment of acute or progressive neurological diseases for a wide range of voice, speech, language and hearing deficits are provided.

    Davies Campus
    Castro at Duboce
    San Francisco, CA


    Often resulting from stroke or other brain injuries, aphasia affects a person's ability to communicate. Our therapists work one-on-one with aphasia patients moving from non-verbal communication and augmentative communication to single word responses and word finding on to more complex verbal communication. Our goal is to return patients to their maximum ability to communicate in their everyday life.

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    The swallowing disorder known as Dysphagia can be a major life-threatening problem for many people. Often caused by stroke, cerebral palsy or Parkinson's Disease, dysphagia gone untreated can increase the opportunity for gastroesophageal reflux disease (severe heartburn), infection and in some cases, pneumonia.

    Our therapists evaluate and assess a patient's swallowing technique by watching the individual with dysphagia swallow foods and liquids of various consistencies. Sometimes an X-ray study, called a "modified barium swallow" study is also part of the assessment. This is a simple and painless test in which the patient sits comfortably in his or her usual eating position and is given a variety of foods and liquids to swallow. During the study, we can determine which muscles are performing abnormally, which structures may be moving abnormally, and analyze the flow of the food through the mouth and throat.

    Since no two dysphagic patients have exactly the same pattern of swallowing, during this X-ray study, the therapist and physician can evaluate which individualized treatment program will effectively improve the patient's swallow. Swallowing therapy treats a variety of problems through exercises.

    These exercises include:

    • Exercises to improve ability to control, manipulate and move a bite or sip through the mouth or throat.

    • Exercises to improve saliva swallowing.

    • Exercises to improve ability to close the airway during swallowing, keeping food and liquid out.

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    Speech-Language Pathology

    Our Speech-Language pathologists provide individualized evaluations, assessments and treatment aimed at helping people develop effective communication skills. These include:

    • Helping people with articulation disorders to learn proper production of speech sounds.

    • Evaluating, selecting, and developing augmentative and alternative communication systems (such as voice synthesizing computers and communication boards) for people with severe speech problems, enhancing communication effectiveness by improving everyday communications skills, such as pitch, projection, accent, and nonverbal communication.
    Evaluations and assessments are provided to determine the needs of each individual to improve their communication skills. The assessment is the initial phase of the treatment process. It provides information about the strengths, weaknesses and the most effective point for therapy to begin. The evaluation can include testing of articulation (speech sound production), language, oral motor, voice, fluency, and higher level thinking skills.

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    Voice Disorders

    Voice disorders refer to abnormal pitch, loudness, or vocal quality for the sex, age and status of the speaker. The cause of the disorder may be organic or functional. The fact that it may have an organic origin requires a medical examination and referral prior to initiating therapy. Any medical condition must be considered before any therapy is implemented.

    You will need a referral from your primary care provider or specialist. In order to avoid unexpected medical expenses, it is always best for you to contact you insurance company prior to treatment to confirm coverage.

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