“Why do I need speech therapy—I talk just fine?!”
Written by Corey Meador, M.S., CCC-SLP at CORA Roanoke
It’s a phrase speech-language pathologists (also called SLPs) have been hearing for ages. In addition to working on the typical areas people associate with speech therapy—fixing those pesky “lisps” or helping kids become more talkative—an SLP can provide services for adults as well!
In a generation where people are living longer, an increasing number of people are experiencing changes in their thinking skills. The best news? Speech-language pathologists can help you!
What is Cognition?
The term cognition is defined as “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” Generally speaking, cognition involves many areas of thought that can affect your daily living. Just think about what is required to brush your teeth. You must remember that it needs to happen, make a plan to complete the task, and pay attention while brushing to make sure you clean each tooth. Don’t even get me started on what happens when you run out of toothpaste!
An occupational therapist can help you with the physical act of completing tooth brushing (holding the brush and squeezing the toothpaste), and the SLP can help you with the thinking processes that are involved in making good dental hygiene a reality! These two disciplines can work closely together to make sure you’re able to take care of all of your daily needs.
How are Cognitive Challenges Treated?
SLPs can help with increasing your ability to remember, pay attention, solve problems, and use good judgement skills. Techniques will vary, but many SLPs will us a variety of methods to increase your thinking skills. Some treatments may include working on memory for appointments, and others may target telling time, counting money, and writing a check. All activities are geared toward making sure that we treat you right—and get you back to living life to the fullest!
What Can I Do If I Have Concerns with My (or My Loved One’s) Cognition?
Not all cognitive changes are related to changes in the brain. For example, it is normal to have some mild “forgetfulness” with age or on a particularly challenging day. Your primary care physician is your best resource for determining if your difficulties are related to age, a change in medical status, or something different. Talk with your doctor, and ask for a referral to see a speech-language pathologist who specializes in cognitive care. We’ll do an assessment of your cognitive skills and determine what treatment approach works best for you.
Why Wait? Act Early, Act Now.
If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s cognition, it’s best to seek the advice of an expert who can assess, diagnose, then offer treatment options for you. CORA’s team of speech-language pathologists and physical and occupational therapists are knowledgeable, dedicated, and always happy to work with you or your child to make sure they’re on track for happy, healthy processing of thought. It’s the peace of mind that every parent and loved one deserves.