The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists
Speech-language pathologists are communication disorder specialists trained to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions beyond the production of speech sounds. Speech-language pathologists do not typically provide therapy for tics. At this time, treatment for tics is typically provided by counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and occupational therapists who are trained in procedures such as Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT), or habit reversal therapy, or tics are managed with pharmaceuticals under the guidance of a physician. However, speech-language pathologists can help individuals with TS in managing other symptoms, which can interfere with social, academic, and/or communicative functioning.
Speech Therapy and Co-Occurring Conditions
As we know, people with TS can have co-occurring conditions, such as a learning disability, ADHD, OCD, or social language impairment. When these diagnoses co-occur, there is a greater chance that the individual may benefit from speech pathology services. Often, these individuals will have language-based learning disabilities, executive function disorders, and/or other communication disorders that can be significantly improved through speech pathology services.
For example, people with language-based learning disabilities may have difficulty understanding and learning new vocabulary, word relationships (such as antonyms and synonyms), word structure and/or grammar. They may have difficulty understanding questions, learning to ask questions, following directions, giving directions, and/or understanding information they hear. Problems may occur with spoken language, written language, or both. Speech-language pathologists conduct thorough evaluations to determine exactly which areas of language are strong and which areas are impaired and then develop a treatment plan for improvement.