Speech-Language Pathology & Swallowing

NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation speech-language pathology and swallowing therapists evaluate and treat adults for communication disorders, swallowing disorders, cochlear implant rehabilitation, voice disorders, as well as treat children with pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders.

Adult Neurogenic Communication Disorders Program

Our inpatient speech-language program addresses disorders that result from a stroke or other brain disorder or injury. During the recovery process, a patient is transferred from NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital to the Inpatient Stroke Rehabilitation Unit or the Inpatient Brain Injury Program at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone’s Hospital for Joint Diseases, where physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology are provided.

Upon discharge from Rusk Rehabilitation, people often continue speech-language therapy through a seamless transition to an outpatient program.

Many different types of communication problems can result from a stroke or other brain injury. Each patient’s treatment is geared to their particular condition.

Our outpatient program, housed in NYU Langone’s Ambulatory Care Center, helps people with neurological problems including stroke, brain tumor, traumatic brain injury, primary progressive aphasia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebellar degeneration, epilepsy, and other neurological diseases or conditions.

Swallowing Disorders Program

The Swallowing Disorders Program is dedicated to the diagnosis and therapeutic management of swallowing and feeding disorders, also known as dysphagia, seen in people of any age.

The treatment team includes physicians specializing in rehabilitation medicine, otolaryngology, radiology, pulmonary medicine, gastroenterology, pediatrics, and neurology. In addition, consultation and treatment planning may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, nutrition, and psychology. We provide care to patients who need it throughout NYU Langone.

Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Children

Our pediatric feeding and swallowing experts specialize in the evaluation and treatment of children with a wide variety of feeding and swallowing impairments. Our experts see inpatients in Tisch Hospital, as well as outpatients. Care for children is provided through Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital of New York at NYU Langone.

Children may demonstrate feeding and swallowing difficulties because of oral motor or oropharyngeal swallowing impairments. Additionally, some children demonstrate inadequate oral intake or are unable to transition to age-appropriate foods because of sensory and behavioral concerns.

Common diagnoses of children referred to this program include failure to thrive, pneumonia and frequent lung infections or respiratory problems, gastroesophageal reflux disease, food allergies or intolerance, sensory integration disorder, developmental delay, genetic syndromes, cancer, and craniofacial anomalies or cleft palate.

Speech-Language Pathology Program for Children

Rusk Rehabilitation has a specialized pediatric unit at the Hospital for Joint Diseases to addresses the communication needs of children.

Most of the children seen in our pediatric speech-language unit have either a peripheral or central nervous system disorder or disease, a developmental delay, or a cognitive communicative impairment. We commonly treat children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain and spinal cord tumors, pervasive developmental disorder, seizure disorder, or transverse myelitis.

The types of communication disorders associated with these conditions include aphasia, an acquired language impairment that can result from brain injury, stroke and other conditions, and motor speech impairments such as dysarthria, and apraxia of speech, in which a person has trouble putting words or syllables together in the proper order. Other communication problems include developmental language delays, receptive or expressive language disorders, and voice disorders.

Our pediatric speech-language pathologists are trained to diagnose each patient’s communication impairment and evaluate its impact on the child’s everyday functioning, performance in school, and social interactions. Some children with communication disorders may require assistive technology, such as a communication device. We work closely with our assistive technology program to help these children achieve effective functional communication.

A physician referral is required for admission to any of our pediatric speech-language programs. For further information about our pediatric program and services, please call 212-598-6248.

Cochlear Implant Speech-Language Pathology Program

We provide speech-language pathology services to children and adults with cochlear implants—devices that convert sound waves into electrical signals and transmits them to the brain, allowing people with severely impaired hearing to hear sounds in their environment.

Patients range in age from 6 months to over 90 years old and include individuals with both acquired and congenital hearing impairment. Services are delivered by a dedicated clinical specialist in speech-language pathology, and include pre- and post-implant speech-language assessments of expressive and receptive language and annual follow-up assessments. Patients receive treatment for any of the various speech-language difficulties that can arise following cochlear implantation, along with patient and family counseling on how to overcome them.

Patients are referred to our program through NYU Langone's Cochlear Implant Center.

Voice Therapy

Voice therapy is an essential component of treatment for many patients with voice disorders—it’s often the most effective treatment recommendation.

A voice disorder is anything that changes the sound quality of your speech. At the Ambulatory Care Center, therapy is provided by a clinical voice specialist in these areas:

Care of the Injured Voice

This successful voice therapy program is designed to help you improve the sound of your voice while the injury heals. This can also help you avoid vocal damage in the future. For patients who need surgery, preoperative and postoperative voice therapy ensures the best outcome and can reduce the possibility of recurrence and in some cases, speed up the rate of recovery.

Care of the Performing Voice

Actors, singers, and professional speakers are especially concerned with protecting their voices. They differ from the general population because of the unusual demands placed on their voices. As a certified vocologist, our clinical voice specialist specifically tailors therapy to meet the needs of the professional voice user.

Neurological Voice Disorders

If you have been diagnosed with a neurological voice disorder, behavioral treatment may be prescribed in addition, or as an alternative, to medical treatment.

Treatment of Vocal Cord Dysfunction

The job of the vocal folds is to stay open while we breathe and close when we swallow. If they are doing the opposite—closing when you inhale—therapy sessions provide you with the tools you need to manage and sometimes eliminate these breathing problems.

To find out more about the voice disorders treatment program or to schedule an appointment, please call 212-263-6033.

Speech-Language Pathology Services for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease can affect many different aspects of communication, including speech production, vocal inflections and intensity, and facial expressions—all of which are important parts of how we communicate. We have experts who evaluate and analyze all of these aspects of communication and their impact on the individual’s social interactions and quality of life.