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Speech Therapy

What is Speech Therapy?

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of communication disorders (speech and language disorders), cognitive-communication disorders, voice disorders, and swallowing disorders. SLPs also play an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. SLPs also help people who stutter to speak more fluently. Articulation and fluency are only a few areas of the work of an SLP, and in fact, they are concerned with a broad scope of speech, language, swallowing, cognitive, and voice issues involved in communication.

Who are the Clients of Speech Language Pathologists?

Children and Adults alike can benefit from speech and language therapy. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), “Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, work with people who have problems with speech, language, thinking, and swallowing.”

Children with mild, moderate or severe:

  •       Genetic disorders that adversely affect speech, language and or cognitive development including cleft palate, Down syndrome

  •       ADHD, ADD

  •       Autism Spectrum disorders

  •       Developmental delay

  •       Feeding and swallowing disorders; including oral motor deficits and dysphagia

  •       Language or language delay

  •       Voice disorders

  •       Specific language impairment

  •       Articulation disorders or phonology impairment

  •       Pediatric traumatic brain injury or stroke

  •       Verbal apraxia

  •       Fluency disorders (stuttering)

Adults with mild, moderate, or severe language disorders as a result of:

  •       Traumatic brain injury

  •       Stroke

  •       Voice disorders

  •       Cognitive communication impairments

  •       Post concussive syndrome

  •       Aphasia

  •       Apraxia of speech

  •       Motor speech disorders (dysarthria)

  •       Cerebral Palsy

  •       Swallowing disorders (dysphagia)

  •       Dementia

  •       Parkinson’s disease

  •       Multiple Sclerosis

  •       Mental health issues

  •       Progressive neurological conditions such as cancer of the neck, head, and throat

What is Unique about Speech Therapy at Woodland Strides?

Woodland Strides offers a unique variation to speech and language therapy by incorporating hippotherapy. According to the American Hippotherapy Association, Hippotherapy (hippo is Greek for horse) involves SLPs, along with OTs and PTs using evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulating of the movement of a horse to engage a patient’s sensory, neuro-motor, and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes. It is a treatment strategy. While riding on a horse may not appear to have anything to do with speech therapy, the spectrum of benefits provided by hippotherapy is wide-ranging.

The multidimensional movement provided by a horse is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive, which produces a calming effect on riders. This in turn facilitates neurophysiologic systems that support all of our functional daily living skills. The therapist or handler is actively moving the horse to facilitate different neurological reactions in a person, including body control, posture and attention, which leads to speech and swallowing because it is all the same nervous system. Speech is motor based, so by using the horse, you are targeting every aspect of the neurological system with every step of the horse.

What is the frequency?

Typically, therapy sessions are one-hour. Thirty minutes of each therapy session is spent utilizing hippotherapy as a treatment strategy. The other half of the session occurs in the clinic, where the patient participates in the usual table-top speech, language, or cognitive therapy activities. During this time, the therapist and families may also collaborate to problem-solve challenges and develop strategies for home and school. All 60 minutes of therapy can be offered in the clinic if hippotherapy is determined to be unsafe for an individual (i.e. uncontrolled seizures or atlantoaxial instability present in Down Syndrome), the client is under the age of 2, if the individual does not wish to ride, when the horses have scheduled vacations and/or on inclement weather days. On occasion, therapy sessions may only comprise 30 minutes. In this case, hippotherapy and clinic sessions will typically alternate.

What is the Cost?

Private in-network insurance plans typically require co-pays and cover the rest after deductibles have been met. Out-of-network insurance plans may be able to be billed out-of-network. Some insurance plans do not cover therapy services or have limitations. In this case, you may talk to the therapist about what would be the best payment option for you.

How do I start?

If you or a loved one is interested in speech therapy at Woodland Strides, please complete our Prospective Client Form. You may also email or call 530-665-6438.

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