Areas of Expertise

Traumatic Brain Injury

An injury to the brain can occur as the result of trauma, a tumor or a disease. Brain injuries often result in physical disabilities as well as significant changes in language, memory, thinking, behavior and personality. No two injuries are alike nor do they create the same challenges for patients and their families. Recovery from brain injury does not end when a patient is transitioned from the inpatient program. Rather, recovery continues long after the return home.

Dysphagia/Feeding Disorders

Dysphagia is difficulty in swallowing food, liquids, and even saliva, due to muscle weakness or paralysis. Individuals may experience mild to severe difficulties when swallowing, including: Coughing, choking or throat-clearing while eating or drinking, throat pain or discomfort, sensation of food sticking the mouth, throat or upper chest, or gurgling noises when speaking. Feeding disorder happens when an infant or child has trouble eating or refuses to eat. Feeding difficulties may be an effect of underlying medical complications, but may also be related to sensory and behavioral issues. Symptoms of a feeding disorder may include: refusal to eat, trouble swallowing, taking longer than normal to eat or drink, vomiting, choking, gagging, and behavioral difficulties.

Cognition

Cognitive rehabilitation services address difficulties in areas such as attention, memory, organization, visuoperception, problem-solving, self-monitoring, and self-awareness in order to maximize an individual's safety, daily functioning, independence, social participation, and quality of life. Treatment of this area includes increasing awareness of deficits, goal setting, compensation, internalization of strategies so they become more automatic and generalize to wider context. 

Apraxia

Apraxia is the difficulty and/or inability to execute purposeful and coordinated movements even though the person has the desire to speak and the mouth and tongue muscles are physically able to form words. This often results in rearranged sounds within words. 

Dysarthria

Dysarthria is difficulty in articulating words due to a disturbance in the central nervous system often resulting in slow and slurred speech. Treatment involves intensive focus on oral-motor skill development

Attention

The ability to obtain and sustain appropriate attention to a task while screening out irrelevant stimulation in order to focus on the information that is important in the moment. This can be influenced by motivation, self-esteem, sensory integration, practice, language difficulties and any existing diagnosis. This can result in difficulties learning new skills, successful social interactions, learning and broadening a repertoire of play skills, inability to follow instructions, receptive (understanding) language, and auditory processing (accurately understanding verbal information).

Pragmatics

Verbal and non-verbal social language skills including skills for using language for different reasons (e.g., greeting, stating, demanding, informing, requesting), changing language based on listener and setting, and following the rules of conversations. This can result in difficulty joining in on social play, working with others at school, or just interacting appropriately with peers, co-workers, and/or family members.

Executive Functioning

This the cognitive processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully in various environments. The brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses. Executive function helps you manage time, pay attention, switch focus, plan and organize, remember details, avoid saying or doing the wrong thing, do things based on your experience, and multi-task.

Aphasia

Aphasia is the impairment or absence of comprehension and/or communication skills as a result of an injury to the brain's language center. It can apply to spoken or written words and numbers and is most commonly associated with stroke and brain injury. It is characterized by a disturbance of the comprehension and formulation of language. It is loss of language, NOT cognition. 

Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome is often referred to as a mTBI complex disorder in which various symptoms — such as headaches and dizziness — last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion. Symptoms frequently reported include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, loss of concentration and memory, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), blurry vision, noise and light sensitivity, and occasionally decreases in taste and smell.

 
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Leigh Harter Speech Services, PLLC © 2019 by Leigh Harter, CCC-SLP