Speech Therapy

What is speech-language pathology?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. 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 a few areas an SLP works on, and in fact, they are concerned with a broad scope of speech, language, swallowing, cognitive and voice issues involved in communication.

Who benefits from speech-language therapy?

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
  • ADDAutism Spectrum disorders
  • Developmental delay
  • Feeding and swallowing disorders; including oral motor deficits and dysphagiaLanguage 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 our speech and language therapy?

Highest Potential Therapy 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 part of the same nervous system. Speech is motor-based, so by using the horse, every aspect of the neurological system is targeted with each step of the horse.

Typically, approximately half 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 table-top speech, language and/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. The entire therapy session 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 inclimate weather days.

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 to start:

If you or a loved one is interested in speech-language therapy services, please visit our “Contact Us” page to get in touch.