Multiple Sclerosis impacts each sufferer differently, but according to the National MS Society located in New York, between 23% and 57% of MS suffers experience speech difficulties. Speech therapy can be an integral part of managing ones’ MS.
MS sufferers may experience periods of relatively normal speech, along with periods of unclear (dysarthric) speech. Because MS is a degenerative condition, speech exercises used with other types of disorders may not be effective. As a result, compensations for the difficulties are more useful.
How can a Speech-Language Pathologist Help with MS?
Speech-Language Pathologists are trained to help people with MS learn which strategies are most helpful based on the person’s physical and mental characteristics. These strategies can be practised during times of remission so that the client has practised the strategy frequently and is ready to use it effectively when an episode or flare-up occurs.
As with any degenerative illness affecting speech, supportive counselling regarding current and future communication changes is very important. Many people are not aware that Speech-Language Pathologists are the optimal professional to provide the counselling pertaining to speech changes. Adjustment issues related to the disability are best addressed through Psychology or Social Work service.