Speech and Swallowing Department
The Speech and Swallowing Department at Little Company offers outpatient and inpatient programs for the evaluation and treatment of children and adults with speech, language, voice and swallowing disorders.
This service is offered in the Mary Potter Physicians Pavilion, located at:
2850 West 95th Street
Evergreen Park, Illinois, 60805
Call 708.229.5285 for appointments.
Our program employs certified and experienced speech/language pathologists. For our home-based speech therapy program, please contact our Home Based Services experts.
Our goals are to help each individual maximize communication skills needed to function in one's home, work, school and social environments.
To schedule an appointment for an outpatient evaluation during our day, evening and convenient Saturday hours, please call 708.229.5285.
Read on to learn more about the disorders we treat.
Articulation is disordered when a person has difficulty in the clarity or pronunciation of speech sounds and words.
Difficulty in articulation may result as a child develops speech. Speech may sound unintelligible; sounds may be omitted or substituted.
Adults may acquire an articulation disorder as a result of a stroke, neuromuscular disease or after oral surgery.
Stuttering/dysfluency is also a speech disorder where the rhythm and rate of speech are disturbed. The smooth flow of words may be interrupted by periods of silence, repetitions, or groping for words.
Voice is produced by the vocal cords within the larynx (voice box). A normal voice is one that is appropriate in pitch, loudness and quality for a particular person. Disordered voice is one that calls attention to itself rather than what the speaker is saying. Voice is disordered when it is:
- harsh or raspy
- breathy or quiet
- abnormal in pitch (too high or too low)
- difficult to produce voice or inability to produce voice
Causes of voice disorders include voice misuse and abuse, vocal nodules, polyps, neurological disorders, laryngeal trauma and cancer of the larynx.
If hoarseness, voice change or discomfort lasts more than two weeks, see your doctor.
Once your physician has examined your vocal cords, the speech/language pathologist performs an evaluation and designs a voice treatment program based on the diagnosis. Treatment may include voice abuse identification and proper use of pitch and loudness.
Following laryngectomy, removal of the larynx due to cancer, these services are available:
- esophageal voice training (new voice)
- electrolarynx instruction
- pre-operative tracheoesophageal puncture evaluation including air insufflation
- prosthesis fitting and voice treatment following tracheoesophageal puncture
Childhood language disorders include delayed (late) language development and disordered language. Vocabulary and grammar are two areas that may be delayed or disordered in the child's expressive language. Childhood language disorders and delays are carefully diagnosed by the speech/language pathologist using various measures and are based on the child's age.
Adult language disorders are acquired by stroke, head injury or other brain injury or other brain injury. When a person has "aphasia" or the loss of language, one or all of the following may be impaired: speaking, understanding speech, writing, reading, work recall and mathematical skills.
Swallowing is disordered when difficulty occurs as one attempts to move food or drink toward the back of the mouth or may occur as the material passes through the neck on route to the stomach.
Disordered swallowing may be characterized by coughing, choking, gagging, food "sticking" in the throat or mouth, reduced speed of swallow, absence of swallow or refusal to swallow. Approximately 40% of persons with disordered swallowing of neurological origin aspirate (material enters windpipe) without obvious symptoms of a swallowing disorder.
Swallowing disorders may result from stroke, other neurological impairments, and cancer of the head and neck.
The following services are available for persons with swallowing disorders:
- Clinical examinations of structures and swallowing function
- X-ray swallow studies
- Treatment, including posturing/positioning recommendations, modifying food textures and other treatment techniques
The speech/language pathologist provides techniques for the patient and family to follow and continues to monitor progress toward the goal of rehabilitating a more normal swallow. The speech/language pathologist works closely with the physician, dietitian and nursing staff in helping the person with swallowing difficulty.