Speech and language therapy (SALT) provides treatment, support and care for people who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing. SeeAbility has an in-house team and everyone we support has access to their expertise.

 

Communication

The speech and language therapists at SeeAbility support people with verbal and non-verbal communication through the use of a Total Communication approach. That means encouraging communication through any means possible - speech, sign language, gestures, tone and pitch of voice, facial expressions, pictures, symbols and objects.

Many of the people we support are non-verbal communicators and therefore we often focus on strategies alternative to speech. They may also have a visual impairment, requiring us to adapt and develop a strategy or programme specific to each person to meet their communication and visual needs. Our speech and language therapists work closely with our vision rehabilitation workers to better understand how people's visual impairment impacts on their communication.

We value each person's need to communicate and it is the speech and language therapist's role to develop the most effective way to support that person, involving them and those who know them best. Good communication only exists as part of positive everyday relationships, boosting self-esteem and success. It crosses all dimensions of care, support and enablement. Without good communication, people struggle to learn, achieve, make friends and interact.

 

Luke's story

SeeAbility started supporting Luke because he has coloboma, a genetic condition that makes his eyes sensitive to light. It quickly became apparent that communication was vital to him leading a fulfilling life. Luke has so much to say - particularly about the films and music he loves - but a condition called spastic dysarthrophonia was causing him difficulty with speech and voice production. People often underestimated his understanding and didn't give him the time to finish what he wanted to say.

Our SALT assessed Luke and arrived at the conclusion that the best treatment would be Botox injections to control the spasticity affecting his speech. The results have been dramatic, Luke is able to talk with much less effort than before. He now expresses his ideas clearly and, most importantly, can pick up the phone and speak to friends and family whenever he wants. He says:

My new voice has made me feel alive and that I can live my life to the full and enjoy every moment.

 

Sadick's story

Sadick (pictured above) is a non-verbal communicator with a physical disability. He was unable to control his environment as his communication was restricted to the use of facial expressions.

Sadick underwent multiple assessments through the support of the Speech and Language Therapy team, he was supported to use Eye Gaze Technology. This technology tracks Sadick's eye movements so he is able to select options on a screen in front of him. He can now use the technology to communicate with the people around him, as well as make choices we take for granted - such as changing the channel on the TV! Through speech and language therapy he has learned to control his environment and communicate in a new way. 

Dysphagia

Speech and language therapists provide advice for more than just communication. We also support people who have difficulty eating, drinking and/or swallowing. Eating and drinking difficulties can occur at any time in someone’s life and there is a wide range of possible causes.

Our therapists assess someone's eating and drinking skills and may recommend modification of food and/or drink to reduce or manage their symptoms.

People who are unable to eat, drink and/or swallow effectively are at risk of coughing and choking, aspirating (food or drink going into the airway), reduced nutritional intake and dehydration; all of which can result in life-threatening illness.

We offer our staff teams training in Dysphagia awareness and the rationale for following eating and drinking guidelines. Our staff are also trained to refer to our speech and language therapists should they have any concerns.

 

To enquire about speech and language therapy contact Lesley Thorndycraft (Advanced Speech and Language Therapist) on 01372 389 447 or email: [email protected]