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Aphasia: Defects in speech, writing, or in the comprehension of spoken or written language caused by brain damage or disease. There are many types of aphasia each as a result of injury to a different area of the brain. The two main types are:

  • Broca's aphasia: a result of damage to the centre of the brain responsible for the production of language.
  • Wernike's aphasia: a result of damage to the centre of the brain responsible for the comprehension of language.

Apraxia: inability to carry out purposeful movements in the absence of paralysis or other motor or sensory impairment. There are a number of different types of apraxia some of which are described below:

  • Verbal apraxia: relating to movements required for speech.
  • Oral apraxia: relating to oral movements (e.g., opening the mouth, chewing and smiling).

Aspiration: when any foreign substance penetrates the larynx and enters the airway below the true vocal folds (voice box).

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Cleft Palate/ Cleft lip: an elongated opening of the palate and/or lip, when the parts fail to join during embryonic development.

Craniofacial disorders: refers to an abnormality of the face and/or the head which can result from abnormal growth patterns of the face or skull, which involves soft tissue and bones (e.g., a cleft plate).

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Dementia: the progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the body beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Although dementia is far more common in the older population, it may occur in any stage of adulthood.

Diet modifications: These are made when a patient is at risk of aspirating food or fluids. Foods and fluids can be changed in consistency to ensure safety.

Dysarthria: A motor speech disorder that is characterized by weakness of the muscles that control articulation, respiration, resonation, prosody, and phonation. There are a number of different types of dysarthria each as a result of damage to a different area of the brain/ ?nerves. The most common forms of spastic, flaccid, ataxic and mixed.

Dysphagia: difficulty swallowing; often associated with stroke, neurologic disease, and post surgery for head and neck cancer.

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Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES): is a small, flexible scope attached to a camera which is passed through the nose and can be used as a means of assessing swallowing function.

Fluency: the flow with which sounds, syllables, words and phrases are joined together when speaking. 'Fluency disorders' is used as a collective term for cluttering and stuttering.

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Laryngeal abnormalities: Affects the normal vibratory function of the vocal folds, which in turn impact on vocal quality and in some cases swallowing function

Laryngectomy: The surgical removal of part or all of the larynx (voice box)

Lingual frenulum: A connecting fold of membrane serving to support or restrain a part of the tongue

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Modified Barium Swallow (MBS): This is a x-ray used to evaluate the swallowing process. The food used during the assessment contains some barium (a contrast material) so it can be easily viewed as it is swallowed.

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Neonatal: The term relating to an infant's first month after birth (possibly longer)

Neurological disorders: A disorder of the nervous system (brain and peripheral nerves). which includes for example Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and motor neuron disorders

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Odynophagia: Painful swallowing (in mouth or throat).

Oncology: The area of medicine which investigates and manages cancer of the human body.

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Palliative: Referring to palliative care where a patient is made comfortable in the end stages of their life.

Parkinson's Disease: A progressive neurological disorder effecting the normal functioning of the muscles (e.g., slowness, tremor and rigidity)

Progressive degenerative conditions:  a condition in which the function or structure of the affected tissues or organs will progressively deteriorate over time (e.g., Parkinson's disease, dementia, and motor neuron disease).

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Respiratory disorders: A disorder of the respiratory system (lungs) including for example asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia and emphysema

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Tongue Tie (or ankyloglossia): an unusually short, thick lingual frenulum (joins tongue to floor of mouth), that can restrict the range of movement of the tongue.

Tracheostomy: a surgical operation that creates an opening into the airway with a tube inserted to provide a passage for air; performed when the airway is obstructed.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Injuries to the brain caused by external physical trauma to the head.

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Voice disorders: group of problems involving abnormal pitch, loudness, or quality of the sound produced by the larynx (voice box).

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Last updated: 1 August 2013