Dementiais a gerontological health condition of public health importance. TheAmerican Speech-Language Hearing Association describes the illness asloss of memory and general cognitive impairment. Alzheimer’sdisease is the major cause of dementia. Despite the intensive studiesconducted by health researchers, none has yielded a cure for thecondition (ASHA, 2016). The disease is important to speech andlanguage pathologists because it affects the patient’s ability tocommunicate effectively.
ASHAalso provides the various symptoms associated with dementia. Theyinclude confusion, memory loss, reduced productivity, impaired motorfunctions, difficulty in communicating and changes in personality(ASHA, 2016). Physicians conduct a brain autopsy to diagnose thedisease. Some of the professionals who are involved in the diagnosticprocess include physicians, neuropsychologists, speech and languagepathologists, occupation therapists, social workers and caregivers(ASHA, 2016). Evaluation of the cognitive function demands theinclusion of a multi-dimensional team to give comprehensiveinformation.
Accordingto ASHA, SLPs play a critical role in diagnosis and management ofdementia. They are involved in the screening and assessment of thepatients. They also manage the cognitive, communication andswallowing difficulties as a result of dementia. To reinstate thespeaking ability, SLPs address the issue of attention, sequentialcommunication and problem solving. ASHA also provides strategiesthat professionals can employ to communicate effectively with thepatients. Repeating keywords and keeping the information short helpsthe clients to maintain attention and memory. Also, the use ofwritten cues has been proved to be an imperative tool to triggermemory (ASHA, 2016).
Asa speech and language pathologist, I believe I will be of importanceto patients suffering from communication challenges. I would be in aposition to assist the victims of dementia and others who have speechcomplications. In addition, I would possess the skills to assist therelatives of dementia patients by advising them on the bestapproaches to communicating effectively with the victims. It wouldalso be important if I were an SLP since I would be part of the vitalteam that diagnoses the condition, especially with the increasedreporting.
AmericanSpeech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). (2016). Dementia.Retrievedfrom http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/dementia/