A person with MS may see a speech and language therapist for a number of reasons, for instance:
- slurring or slowing of speech - this is the most common form of speech problem experienced by people with MS
- difficulty in remembering words or concentrating on things involving words eg reading a long newspaper article
- swallowing problems and coughing or choking whilst drinking. The speech and language therapist may carry out a swallowing assessment and advise ways to minimise or avoid problems
The therapist can assess the cause and the impact of particular problems and develop programmes to provide effective management of symptoms. Speech and language therapists work in a holistic way, working with both the person with MS and their family (if appropriate), as well as with other health professionals involved in the care of the individual.
Referral to a speech and language therapist is usually made by a GP but most therapy services can also be contacted directly for advice. Speech and language therapists work in a variety of settings depending on a client's needs - in the community, people's homes and in hospitals.
How can speech and language therapists help?
Over 40 per cent of people living with MS report experiencing problems with speech. Melissa Loucas, a speech and language therapist based in Reading, explains what help is available.
Speech disorders can be a symptom of MS for some people. Treatment often involves a speech and language therapist.
Difficulty swallowing (also known as dysphagia) is a possible though not common symptom of multiple sclerosis. Learn more about dysphagia in this A-Z entry.
Making the most of appointments
Useful advice about getting all you can out of your meetings with health professionals.
Questions about MS?
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