A senior man on his laptop, on an online speech therapy session for adults at home.

Everything to Know about Speech Therapy at Home for Adults

Reviewed by Dr. Joyce Richardson, PhD.

Speech therapy is not just for children – adults can benefit too, especially with speech therapy at home for adults. Whether speech difficulties stem from a medical condition, injury, or a desire to improve communication skills, adult speech therapy, particularly at home, can work wonders.

In this article, we will explore what adult speech therapy is all about and the different at-home options available.

What Is Adult Speech Therapy?

Adult speech therapy is a specialized program that focuses on improving speech, language, and communication skills in adults. It is designed to address a wide range of disorders and conditions that affect speech and communication, such as stuttering, voice disorders, aphasia, and dysarthria. 

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, an estimated 17.9 million U.S. adults report having had a problem with their voice and for 9.4 million of them, those problems lasted longer than one week.

The goal of adult speech therapy is to help those individuals either regain or develop effective communication skills. This, in turn, enables them to express themselves clearly and confidently across various social and professional settings.

Who Needs Adult Speech Therapy?

Senior slightly smiling. Representing the need of speech therapy at home for adults.

Adult speech therapy can benefit a wide range of individuals who may be experiencing various communication difficulties, such as:

  • Stroke survivors: Many stroke survivors experience difficulties with speech, language, and swallowing due to the damage caused to their brains. Speech therapists can work to regain patients’ speech and language skills, as well as improve their swallowing abilities.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients: TBI can cause a range of communication difficulties, including problems with language, speech, and cognition. By focusing on specific therapy techniques and strategies, speech therapy can assist TBI patients in improving their communication skills and fostering their independence.
  • Adults with neurological conditions: Some neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, can also result in speech and swallowing difficulties because it affects the muscles involved. Therapists can work with patients on exercises to strengthen those muscles and teach strategies to improve their speech clarity, volume, and control.
  • Head and neck cancer patients: These patients can experience significant challenges with speech and swallowing due to the effects of treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Speech therapy can help these individuals regain their ability to speak with clarity and improve their swallowing abilities, resulting in better nutrition and overall quality of life.
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia patients: Patients often experience progressive deterioration in their ability to communicate and understand others. Speech therapy can help these individuals by providing strategies to maintain communication skills for as long as possible.
  • Adults experiencing voice disorders: Voice disorders can manifest in different ways, including changes in pitch, hoarseness, breathiness, roughness, or a strained voice. Speech therapy can help these individuals improve their vocal abilities by providing exercises to strengthen their vocal cords and regain control over their voice.
  • Adults experiencing language disorders: Speech therapy can help individuals with language disorders, such as aphasia or apraxia, make progress in understanding and expressing language with techniques like word retrieval exercises, sentence formation activities, and comprehension strategies.
  • Adults with fluency disorders: Stuttering can significantly impact an individual’s ability to speak fluently. Therapists can provide techniques to manage stuttering and reduce disruptions, such as breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and speech pacing strategies.
  • Adults with swallowing disorders (dysphagia): Those with dysphagia may experience difficulties with eating, drinking, and swallowing safely. Speech therapy can help with exercises to strengthen swallowing muscles, modifications to food consistency and textures, and education on strategies to improve swallowing safety.
  • Occupational voice users: Teachers, singers, or call center operators rely heavily on their voice for their profession. By providing exercises, vocal hygiene education, and strategies for vocal protection and optimization, speech therapy can help occupational voice users develop healthy vocal habits and prevent potential voice-related issues.
  • Adults with social communication challenges: Lastly, individuals facing social anxiety or autism spectrum disorder, can benefit from speech therapy. Therapists can provide strategies to enhance social skills, improve conversational abilities, and increase overall communication confidence.

Signs an Adult May Need Speech Therapy

Recognizing signs that may indicate a need for speech therapy is crucial. If you or someone you know experiences the following, seeking the guidance of a speech therapist could be beneficial:

  • Difficulty Pronouncing Words: Slurred speech, unclear articulation, or persistent challenges with certain sounds or words.
  • Limited Vocabulary: Struggles to express thoughts or have difficulty finding the right words.
  • Voice Changes: Sudden alterations in pitch, volume, or persistent hoarseness or breathiness.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Problems with chewing, swallowing, or frequent choking. The feeling of food getting stuck in the throat.
  • Stuttering or Disfluency: Repetition of sounds, syllables, or words. Frequent interruptions or pauses during speech.
  • Language Challenges: Difficulty following or understanding conversations. Challenges in organizing coherent thoughts.
  • Social Communication Issues: Difficulty interpreting social cues. Challenges in maintaining appropriate conversations.
  • Memory and Cognitive Communication Challenges: Forgetfulness during conversations. Difficulties with problem-solving or recalling information.
  • Voice Fatigue: Easily tired or strained voice, especially after prolonged speaking. Discomfort or pain associated with speaking.
  • Avoidance of Social Interaction: Withdrawal from social situations due to communication difficulties. Feelings of anxiety or embarrassment related to communication.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs but are still unsure whether adult speech therapy is right for you or someone you know, it’s always a good idea to consult with a qualified speech-language pathologist.

They can assess your speech and language abilities, identify any areas of concern, and provide recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

Remember, early intervention is key when it comes to speech therapy so seeking professional guidance can make a significant difference in overcoming these challenges.

Online Speech Therapy at Home for Adults: Comfort & Convenience

A woman on a virtual speech therapy session. Sitting comfortably at home.

Nowadays, you don’t have to go to a therapist’s office to receive the care that you need. Especially when it comes to speech therapy.

For seniors, several at-home healthcare services offer speech therapy.

And in today’s digital era, particularly amidst the recent global pandemic, online speech therapy has emerged as an excellent alternative to traditional in-person sessions.

Here are a few of the benefits of online speech therapy:

  • Convenience: Online speech therapy allows you to schedule therapy sessions around your busy schedule. You don’t have to worry about traveling to appointments or taking time off work to take your child to therapy.
  • Safety: With the ongoing pandemic, many parents are concerned about their child’s safety when attending in-person therapy sessions. Online speech therapy eliminates this concern by allowing your child to receive therapy from the safety and comfort of your own home.
  • Improved Access: Online speech therapy provides access to therapy for families who may live in remote areas or who have difficulty accessing in-person therapy due to transportation issues.
  • Interactive and Engaging: Online speech therapy uses a variety of interactive and engaging activities to keep your child motivated and engaged in therapy. This can make therapy sessions more enjoyable for your child, which can lead to better outcomes.
  • Cost-Effective: Online speech therapy can be a cost-effective option for families who may not be able to afford in-person therapy or who may have limited insurance coverage.

What to Expect at an Online Adult Speech Therapy Session

Online speech therapy is conducted over the internet using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The therapy sessions are conducted through video conferencing software, which allows you to see and hear your therapist in real time, offering a convenient option for speech therapy at home for adults.

Online speech therapy follows a structure similar to traditional in-person sessions:

  1. Assessment: A licensed and certified speech therapist who will carefully assess your speech and language abilities.
  2. Customized Therapy Plans: A tailored therapy plan will be developed to specifically address your unique needs.
  3. Interactive Activities: The therapeutic process will include a variety of interactive activities designed to enhance your speech and language skills.
  4. Real-world Application: The ultimate goal is to enable individuals to apply their improved communication skills in real-life situations. Therapists may incorporate scenarios relevant to work, social interactions, and daily life into the therapy sessions.

Despite the virtual setting, the focus remains on delivering effective and personalized speech therapy from the comfort of your home.

Tips for Making Online Therapy a Success

When it comes to online speech therapy, employing a few simple strategies can set you on the right path and make your overall experience a success. Here are a few useful tips:

Graphic with tips for adults doing online speech therapy.
  • Establish a consistent schedule that aligns with your daily routine.
  • Choose a quiet and comfortable space for your sessions with good lighting.
  • Minimize distractions by turning off notifications and alerts on your devices and informing others in your household about your therapy time to minimize interruptions.
  • Consider having a supportive friend or family member nearby for encouragement or to assist with technical issues, if any, ensuring a smoother session.
  • Apply the techniques and strategies learned during therapy in your daily life. Consistent practice reinforces what you’ve learned, fostering continuous improvement.

Conclusion

So whether you or a loved one is recovering from an injury, managing a speech disorder, or simply wanting to improve communication skills, the convenience and effectiveness of home-based speech therapy are truly invaluable.

For expert-led online adult speech therapy, you can trust Virtual Speech Therapy LLC. We bring over 50 years of collective clinical experience, with qualifications ranging from Master’s Degrees to PhDs in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

Our commitment to delivering top-tier health services is unwavering, and our patient-focused approach sets us apart, ensuring the highest standards of care.

So take the first step toward a more confident and effective way of communicating and contact Virtual Speech Therapy LLC today.