In the US, the number of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is estimated to be about 400,000, with approximately 10,000 new cases diagnosed every year (that’s 200 new cases per week). That is a startling statistic and many of symptoms are as well. One being the loss of speaking abilities over time.
Speech problems are a common concern for people with MS. Because MS affects the way the brain communicates with the rest of the body, it is hard for some people with MS to control the muscles used to talk. Speech therapists are trained and able to help regain or maintain speaking abilities.
Speech therapy treatment will begin by finding a baseline of the patient’s speech quality. Establishing this baseline is important, because it gives both the patient and the therapist a clear starting point from which to judge progress. This will be followed by developing a plan to improve the patient’s speech. These plans often include exercises that will build control of facial muscles (may improve enunciation), breathing exercises (may reduce # of pauses in speech) and address other issues surrounding the use of facial and vocal muscles (i.e. difficulties swallowing).
Often forgotten, is a speech therapists ability to help MS patients with cognitive changes such as:
- Information processing (dealing with information gathered by the five senses)
- Memory (acquiring, retaining and retrieving new information)
- Attention and concentration (particularly divided attention)
- Executive functions (planning and prioritizing)
- Visuospatial functions (visual perception and constructional abilities)
- Verbal fluency (word-finding)
If you have more questions about Speech Therapy in regards to MS patients or in general please contact us directly. (970) 204-4331 or visit https://www.nationalmssociety.org/