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Speech Therapy Department

The Speech Therapy Department is a specialised discipline that deals with the assessment, diagnosis and management of swallowing disorders and a range of communication disorders presenting in adults and children. These include concerns that arise in any of the following areas:

Language

Difficulty in understanding or using spoken or written messages.

Speech

Difficulty with the production and/or pronunciation of sounds.

Voice

Disorder of the voice resulting from vocal misuse or abuse.

Stuttering

Disorder of fluency where there is an interruption in the flow of speech characterised by repetition of sounds, words or by complete speech blocks. For more information about stuttering and therapy options, please visit the Fluency Clinic.

Swallowing

Difficulties in chewing/swallowing solids or liquids.

Hearing Impairment

Speech and language difficulties associated with a hearing impairment. (Hearing impairment and Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation are provided by the Listen and Talk programme at the ENT Centre.)

Management of Dysphagia

Swallowing disorders may arise following neurological impairment, head and neck surgery, cleft-lip and/or palate, respiratory disorders and other medical conditions swallowing impairment may also be present in the normal ageing individual. Speech therapists conduct thorough assessments of oro-motor and swallowing function to determine the cause of the difficulty, and provide recommendations to ensure safe feeding options for the patients. Up to date instrumentation is available to facilitate accurate assessment and diagnosis, and to aid swallowing rehabilitation. These include the 'Modified Barium Swallow' (Videofluoroscopy), 'Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing' (FEES), and 'Surface Electromyography (SEMG) Biofeedback' Services.

Neuro-Rehabilitation

Speech and language therapy is required for many patients who have suffered from stroke and/or other neurological impairment. Therapy is provided to patients in an acute care setting, with a focus on communication rehabilitation. Follow-up rehabilitation services are also provided at our outpatient clinic with a view to achieve maximum communication independence and efficiency. Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) is developed or recommended where necessary. Our clinical staff are involved in developing, adapting and standardising assessments and therapeutic material for use with our local population.

Management of Voice Disorders

Professional and occupational voice users frequently develop voice problems which affect their ability to communicate both at home and in their work environment. The Speech Therapy Department, together with the Department of Otolaryngology, conducts a specialist Voice Clinic which has been in operation since 1994. Each patient is individually screened and managed by the Voice Team, which comprises a Laryngologist (ENT surgeon) and a Speech Therapist. The clinic provides a complete service including consultation, clinical and computerised video stroboscopic examination of the larynx, acoustic analysis of the voice signal, as well as counselling on healthy voice usage. The Speech Therapists also offer therapy sessions where patients are taught voicing techniques to regain and maintain optimal vocal function.

Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation

Patients who have undergone head and neck surgery may often develop speech and/or swallowing difficulties. Specially trained therapists conduct pre-operative counselling sessions and work closely with the medical team in the management of patients undergoing surgical voice restoration. Clinical and instrumental assessment procedures are adopted in evaluation to provide each patient with a range of options in therapeutic management and assistive devices for maximal quality of life.

Fluency Clinic

Stuttering/Stammering is a disorder in the rhythm of speech. It may interfere with everyday communication and have an impact on one's quality of life.

The Fluency Clinic provides an excellent service for both children and adult who stutter. This specialised service includes detailed assessment and diagnosis of the severity and type of stutters. Through individually tailored therapy sessions, clients are taught various techniques to gain control over their speech. Once these skills are mastered, clients undergo a transfer and maintenance programme to maintain their fluency.

Paediatric Services

Speech therapists can provide assessments, diagnoses and offer therapy for children with speech and language disorders. These include articulation difficulties, phonology disorder and language delay. Early intervention for communication disorders can be initiated if indicated.

Communication Disorders related to Cleft Lip/Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies Speech therapists assess and monitor speech and language development in children born with a cleft lip and/or palate. Communication and resonance disorders often occur in this population. Speech therapy, support and advice are offered from infancy to adulthood.

Speech Therapists participate in a monthly Combined Cleft Lip/Palate and Craniofacial Clinic involving plastic surgeons, dental specialists, nurses and parents in a multidisciplinary approach to patient management. Continuing management of each patient is discussed at the combined clinical sessions based on information drawn from the different professional sources.

Prosthetic Speech and Swallow Rehabilitation Clinic

Speech and/or swallowing disorders may follow neurological impairment or head and neck surgery. Patients may be referred to this clinic which is run once a month by a Prosthodontist from the National Dental Centre and a Speech Therapist, to assess the suitability of the use of prosthetic devices in the oral cavity to help with swallowing and/or speech function.

Home Therapy

The Speech Therapy Department also provides a Home Therapy Service for patients who have difficulty travelling to the hospital (e.g. patients who are bedridden). However, this service is only provided for patients referred by a doctor.

Other Services

Besides providing services to individuals with disorders/disabilities in our clinical setting, the department also provides:

  • consultative services
  • customised seminars, workshops and talks at various educational, corporate and healthcare institutions in Singapore.

Topics range from speech and language development, communication, swallowing rehabilitation to prevention of voice disorders and promotion of healthy voice usage.

The Speech Therapy Department at the Singapore General Hospital is clinically and academically affiliated with two reputed Australian Universities - the University of Sydney and La Trobe University. Through this affiliation, our department is committed to maintain a high standard of clinical excellence in patient care. This is achieved through professional development, research and continual training. Professional Development, Research and Training We believe that high standard clinical care requires highly trained and motivated staff.

Our staff receive ongoing professional development through participation in:

  • local and overseas conferences, workshops and seminars and in-service programmes
  • overseas training and clinical attachments in accredited institutions.

We are also actively involved in:

  • training Speech Therapy students on clinical attachments
  • providing competency-based training courses for qualified Speech Therapists (local and from the region) who wish to upgrade their professional skills. These programmes have been peer-reviewed by expert clinicians from the United Kingdom and Australia.

As part of our commitment to clinical excellence and professional development, the department participates in research projects on a continuing basis.

Head of Department

Melissa Chua

B.Sc Speech Sciences (Hons), MBA (Healthcare Management)
Specialises in:
Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation, Surgical Voice Restoration following Total Laryngectomy, Swallowing Disorders
Other areas:
Voice Disorders

Senior Principal Speech Therapist

Valerie Lim

B.Sp Path (Hons), M.App Sc. (Research), Ph.D
Specialises in:
Stuttering Management, Rehabilitation of Acquired Speech and Language Disorders.
Other areas:
Surgical Voice Restoration following Total Laryngectomy, Swallowing Disorders

Elizabeth Roche

B.Sc Clinical Speech and Language Studies
Specialises in:
Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation, Surgical Voice Restoration following Total Laryngectomy, Swallowing Disorders

Senior Speech Therapist

Gwyneth Lee

B.A. (Hons), M.Sp Path
Specialises in:
Stuttering Management, Voice Disorders
Other areas:
Swallowing Disorders, Surgical Voice Restoration following Total Laryngectomy

Wong Seng Mun

B.Sc Speech Sciences (Hons)
Specialises in:
Voice Disorders, Swallowing Disorders 

Deirdre Tay

BSc Speech Sciences (Hons)
Msc (Speech Pathology)
Specialises in:
Rehabilitation of acquired communication and swallowing disorders in neurological conditions
Other areas:
Cleft-speech treatment and neonatal dysphagia

Kristl Alphonso

BSc (Human Communication Science)
Specialises in:
Paediatric Speech and Language, Stuttering Management
Other areas:
Swallowing Disorders

Clinical Placement Coordinator : Robyn Foo
Observer Coordinator : Yak Bee Kiean
Volunteer/Intern Coordinator : Gwyneth Lee

Location

Speech Therapy Department:

Block 3 Level 1
Tel: 6321 4126
Fax: 6326 5497

Last Modified Date :28 Nov 2013