If you or your loved one is experiencing difficulty with communication, cognitive (thinking) skills, voice, or swallowing, we are here to help. Our highly trained Speech-Language Pathologists offer a variety of services to help you meet your goals. We treat patients from adolescents to adults, using state-of-the-art equipment and expertise gained from years of experience and specialized training.
Quality of care is our number one priority, and it shows. Our outcome measures exceed the scores of regional and national speech pathology providers. We know the impact that communication, cognition, and swallowing can have on you and your family’s quality of life. We also understand that the benefits of speech, language, or swallowing therapy can help you share a personal thought with your family; remember your loved one’s birthdays; or simply be able to enjoy a meal with friends. We are personally invested in helping you achieve your goals and will get you the results you need to enjoy life to the fullest.
As a leading rehabilitation hospital with CARF Stroke Specialty Certification, the staff of speech language pathologists (SLPs) at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute are leaders in evaluation and treatment of patients post stroke. As part of the JFK Comprehensive Stroke Center, our SLPs treat patients from acute care through inpatient rehabilitation and then outpatient services. Areas of expertise include treatment of aphasia, apraxia, dysarthria, dysphagia and cognitive deficits.
Aphasia is a loss of language skills that results from damage to parts of the brain that contain language, and is a common problem after a stroke. A person with aphasia can have difficulty speaking, understanding, reading, or writing. Treatment approaches vary by individual depending on symptoms, severity and individual preferences. Some patients require picture boards or computer systems to communicate, whereas others benefit from a variety of verbal or written tasks.
Dysphagia (Swallowing) Disorders
Difficulty swallowing is caused by weakness and/or discoordination of the muscles involved in swallowing. Symptoms of swallowing problems include coughing or gagging when swallowing, feeling like food is stuck in the throat or pneumonia. Your doctor may recommend a swallowing evaluation or a Modified Barium Swallow (MBS) if you report any of these problems.
An MBS is an Xray test to evaluate swallowing difficulties. This procedure is completed with a Radiologist and is considered the “gold standard” for diagnosing swallowing disorders. We use the TIMS® equipment in our evaluation to allow for review of the swallow study with patients and families and ease of transmission to the electronic medical record. Specialized treatment options available to our patients include:
Electromyography (EMG) for visual feedback
Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation (DPNS)
Neuro Muscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) with VitalStim® for electrical stimulation of the swallowing muscles
Cognitive Impairment: Early Memory Loss Program
Cognitive linguistic impairments are often the result of stroke, brain injury or acquired neurogenic disorders including dementia. Difficulty with memory, attention, initiation, and problem solving are signs of cognitive impairment. The Early Memory Loss Program is a treatment protocol for patients diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), dementia, or memory loss that interferes with daily life. The program builds on the principles of cognitive reserve and neuroplasticity to help patients and families improve outcomes.
A voice disorder is an abnormal change in the way a person’s voice sounds. A voice disorder becomes a problem when the pitch, loudness or quality of the voice calls attention to itself rather than to what the speaker is saying. It is also a problem if the speaker experiences pain or discomfort when speaking or singing. Our staff are experts in evaluation and treatment of patients with vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), hoarseness, vocal cord paralysis, vocal cord nodules or polyps, and vocal abuse. We use state-of-the- art evaluation technology, including Visipitch™and digital videostroboscopy when recommended.
Personalized treatment plans are developed for singers, teachers, and other professional voice users.
Several staff are certified in Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) (see Parkinson’s disease)
Head & Neck Cancer Rehabilitation
We offer comprehensive head and neck cancer evaluation and treatment including:
State-of-the art diagnostic and treatment protocols for patients who have undergone surgery of the neck or mouth including total or partial laryngectomy, glossectomy (tongue), mandibulectomy (jaw)
Pre-Radiation counseling and education
Testing to determine prognosis for successful esophageal speech production
Esophageal Speech training
Electrolarynx training and assistance in ordering appropriate device
Tracheoesophageal Puncture Prosthesis (TEP) fitting and training
Monthly Laryngectomy support group
Adolescent Language Disorders
We offer comprehensive evaluation and treatment planning for adolescents including a specialty in social skills and vocational training for students presenting with:
Autism spectrum disorder
Expressive or receptive language disorders
Fluency disorders (stuttering)
Our SLP’s have years of experience at helping patients meet their goals. We have SLP’s with specialized training in LSVT™, VitalStim™, EMG, and Modified Barium Swallows with the use of TIMS®. We have a multilingual staff to meet the needs of our patients in English, Spanish, Russian, and Hindi.
For community reintegration and support we offer the following groups:
Aphasia Support Group: weekly support and therapy group for people with aphasia and their family/caregivers.
Social Skills Group: teaches adolescents the pragmatic and language skills involved in employment settings.
Laryngectomy Support Group: meets every month. Support and education for laryngectomy patients and their caregivers.
How long does an evaluation take?
The tests typically take 30 to 40 minutes.
Will insurance cover speech therapy?
Each person’s insurance coverage is different, however, most insurance policies will cover speech or swallowing evaluation and therapy if there is a medical cause.
It has been a year since my family member saw a speech pathologist. His speech, swallowing or memory is getting worse. What should I do?
Speak to your physician. If a speech or swallowing evaluation is recommended call the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at 732.321.7063.
“Having gone through months of therapy at other facilities with little or no progress we were becoming more and more pessimistic about Walter’s swallowing problems. And then our dear friend John told us about JFK and the outcomes you advertise and we found our way to you. It was so exciting to watch you work with Walter so encouraging, enthusiastic, and aggressive: you gave us hope! Then he had the modified barium swallow test last month and the longed-for words, “He can eat.” I’m tearing up as I write this. After his last therapy session, Walter said, “I feel like I lost my best friend.”
“As a singer when my doctor said: You have vocal cord nodules: rest your voice, I was devastated. Then my doctor said to go to see the Voice Specialists at JFK. Through exercises for my vocal cords including getting my breathing right I was able to be less tense in my throat and the best news is the nodules are gone! Thank you Whitney! Broadway here I come.”
“Thank you so much for the memory workshop last night. It was both helpful and encouraging. I especially appreciated you talking to me about my recovery and how speech therapists like you and Lindsay can teach patients techniques to improve memory and recall with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia. The speech therapists at JFK helped me to eventually return to my position at the Today Show. Thank you Kristie and Lindsay for all you do!”