Northwest Hospital’s Speech & Language Services department offers a variety of therapeutic treatments to meet the needs of patients and their families. Licensed speech language pathologists provide comprehensive evaluation and individualized treatment for a variety of communication disorders, allowing patients to optimize their communication skills and return to a fulfilling life.

We specialize in the following:

Many people take for granted everyday tasks like stating your name, understanding the news, writing a letter or remembering an appointment. When injury or illness disrupts these abilities, frustration and isolation can follow. Impairments may result from stroke, head and neck cancer, brain injury, dementia or other neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease.

Conditions may include:

  • Aphasia: problems speaking, understanding, reading, writing, telling time and/or using numbers.
  • Cognitive-communication disorders: problems of memory, reasoning, problem solving, attention to tasks and awareness of surroundings.
  • Dysarthria: weakness or incoordination of the speech muscles that makes speech difficult to understand.
  • Apraxia: difficulty planning muscle movements for speech production resulting in slow, labored speech.
  • Dysphonia: voice disorders characterized by hoarseness or weakness.

Patients can practice functional communication skills in our Easy Street® environment, a life-sized replica of a city street, including a grocery store, restaurant, movie theater and home with a kitchen, dining room bedroom and car.

Difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, is a common problem and can be caused by numerous medical conditions. Swallowing problems can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, pneumonia and the need for tube feeding or other nutritional alternatives. Clinical and videofluoroscopic swallow evaluations can determine what you can safely swallow using compensatory strategies and modifying food textures as needed.

Our individualized treatment program includes:

  • A comprehensive evaluation of the speech, voice, language, swallowing and/or cognitive communication issues. This evaluation will help determine specific problems, how severe they are and what needs to be done to address them.
  • Individual and/or group therapy treatment programs
  • Education and training for patients, their families and caregivers
  • Counseling about additional treatment options and resources

Specialty services include:

    • Voice Disorders Program – using a computerized voice analysis system, therapists analyze pitch, loudness and voice quality and develop techniques to improve voice quality.
    • Lee Silverman Voice Treatment® Program – Specialized treatment by certified staff for individuals with Parkinson’s disease or other neurological disorders to help increase volume (loudness) of the patient’s voice.
    • Videofluoroscopic swallow evaluation – A dynamic x-ray used to test swallowing. Results of this evaluation are used to ensure safe and optimal eating.
    • Outpatient speech/language classes and support groups —

Let the Games Begin
This conversational support group gives persons with acquired brain injury the opportunity to participate in group card and board games. As a member of the group, you play and interact with other individuals who have similar interests in a supportive, encouraging environment. This group is facilitated by a licensed Speech Language Pathologist who provides suggestions and encouragement, helping participants build confidence while having fun. Please call 206.668.1848 for more information.

Journaling for Recovery from Mild Brain Injury
Story can be medicine. Through the process of journaling, we discover the hope and gifts from within ourselves to support optimal wellness and continued recovery from acquired brain injury. The focus is to embrace a new life by sharing your story with others who are also on the path of recovery. Class members learn about the healing power of journaling and receive a workbook, “After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story,” by Barbara Stahura, to help guide this process. Class meets weekly for six consecutive two-hour sessions in the spring and fall. It is facilitated by a licensed speech language pathologist who is board certified in neurogenic communication disorders. Please call 206.668.1848 for more information.

Talk Loud and Proud
Using techniques from the Lee Silverman Voice Program, this group gives persons with Parkinson’s disease an opportunity to practice speaking with a stronger voice in a group setting. Strategies and exercises are designed to increase speaking volume, improve voice quality and reduce speaking rate so speech becomes more easily understood. Some of the group activities may include games, skits, reading out loud or telling stories. It is a supportive environment intended build confidence in conversational skills. Please call 206.668.1848 for more information.

Speech & Language Services department hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Friday.

The department is conveniently located on the main campus of Northwest Hospital in The Center for Medical Rehabilitation. Easy parking is available.

For more information
Call 206.668.1848. If calling after hours, please leave a message and we will return your call the next business day.