A specialty of health care that focuses on improving the processes of speech and language in a person who has impairments due to disease or injury. People with Parkinson’s disease commonly have problems with speech as a consequence of neurode-generative damage that affects control of the muscles necessary for speech and sometimes as a result of cognitive impairment. Early intervention with exercises and methods to maintain optimal speech functions can minimize resulting communication challenges. medicare, most medical insurance plans, and medicaid pay for at least some of the costs of speech-language pathology services (sometimes called speech therapy). These interventions also help to improve breathing and swallowing.
A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is a mas-ter’s-level health care professional who specializes in disorders of speech and language; he or she is sometimes called a speech-language therapist (SLT) or a speech therapist, these are outdated designations and individuals in the profession prefer the title speech-language pathologist. Most SLPs have an undergraduate degree in communication disorders and a graduate degree from a program accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Most states have licensure and continuing education requirements for SLPs; SLPs should further be certified by the ASHA. Providing support for SLPs are SLP assistants, who typically have associate degrees and carry out defined functions under the direction and supervision of an SLP, and SLP aides, who have vocational or job-based training and perform limited tasks, also under the SLP’s direction and supervision.