Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (aka ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease) is a disease that gradually paralyzes the patient as the brain loses its ability to communicate with the muscles of the body. ALS impacts the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow and eventually, breath. 

The Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) plays a pivotal role on the ALS patient’s multidisciplinary treatment team in fostering quality of life during this challenging journey in the following areas:

a) Communication

As the ability to speak begins to deteriorate, the SLP will help the patient and family by counselling on what to expect next. The SLP will determine ways for the ALS patient to continue using their own voice to communicate for as long as possible and to determine other forms of communication when speech is no longer an option. With advances in technology, there are options for assistive devices that continue to evolve. Our team at S. L. Hunter SpeechWorks facilitates referrals to agencies that specialize in communication assistive technology.

b) Swallowing

Therapy for swallowing focuses on maintaining function for as long as possible by managing symptoms through modifications to the patients diet so that the food is easier to manage, reduces the tendency for fatigue, and optimizes safety. Strategies to compensate for swallowing difficulties may also be effective. These modifications and strategies are modified through the disease process.

Referral for SLP support before problems arise will help the clinician and family to come up with an individualized program for promoting independence. Our overriding goal is to develop a plan that will help the ALS patient remain as independent as possible for as long as possible and to promote quality of life for the patient and his/her family. 

Related therapies to treat this condition:

Articulation Therapy

Articulation therapy is a form of intervention that focuses on the accurate production of speech sounds to improve speech clarity.

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Brain Injury/Stroke Groups

We do our best to match individuals with others who will help to foster improvement of communication in the best way possible.

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Cognitive Communication Therapy

Therapy for cognitive communication focuses on the underlying cognitive processes that can impact a person’s overall communication.

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Communication Intermediary Services

Accessing police, legal, and justice services when you are experiencing a speech or language difficulty can be challenging and could have serious consequences if the individuals...

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Group Therapy

Group therapy is a fun and functional way to learn new skills and practice goals in a realistic setting.

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