Speech-Language Pathology

Kristin Knight, a speech-language pathologist, working with a patient.
Kristin Knight, a speech-language pathologist, specializes in treating patients with neurologic disorders, including stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Our expert therapists can develop a rehabilitation plan to improve your well-being and independence. We offer:

  • A focus on restoring or improving your communication and thinking abilities.
  • Speech-language pathologists who work as part of a team to offer you complete care.
  • A range of therapies to help you communicate and manage daily tasks.

Learn about our pediatric services.

What is speech-language pathology?

Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose and treat people who have trouble speaking, thinking, reading, writing, understanding others and expressing ideas. This field is also called speech-language therapy or speech therapy.

At OHSU Rehabilitation Services, our therapists focus on thinking and communication problems because OHSU has a separate team for voice and swallowing disorders.

Our excellence

Our speech-language pathologists are experts at treating patients with thinking problems that make it hard for them to communicate. They work on teams with other experts. Your care team might include:

  • Neurologists, doctors who treat disorders of the nervous system (the brain, spinal cord and other nerves)
  • Cancer specialists
  • Physical and occupational therapists who work with speech pathologists to help you do everyday activities

Our specialty services include:

Concussion clinic: Our speech therapists can help you improve your memory, thinking and processing skills. They also offer strategies to help you pace yourself, increase your mental endurance and get back to work or studies.

Cancer rehabilitation: Speech pathologists help patients manage “chemo brain,” the foggy thinking that can result from cancer treatment. We’ll give you strategies and exercises to process information more quickly and easily.

Care for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders: Speech pathologists can help you with memory, word-finding, information processing, problem-solving and speaking loudly enough.

Symptoms speech-language therapy helps

Speech: Symptoms include slurring, long pauses, awkward rhythm, voice problems, producing sounds incorrectly and difficulty getting words out.

Cognitive-linguistic deficits: These are problems with thinking and reasoning, such as organizing thoughts, planning, remembering, problem-solving or paying attention. They can happen after a stroke or brain injury, or with illnesses that get worse over time. These include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

Communication deficits: These are problems with understanding others or expressing thoughts and feelings. They can include trouble with talking, reading and writing, and with understanding numbers, money and time. Symptoms can follow a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Our speech-language specialists can help you with memory, processing speed and other skills related to thinking and communicating.
Our speech-language specialists can help you with memory, processing speed and other skills related to thinking and communicating.

Related conditions

Our speech pathologists treat a variety of conditions, including those linked to illness, injury and aging. They include:

What to expect

Our speech pathologists will:

  • Identify difficulties you’re having.
  • Listen to your concerns and hopes.
  • Test your speech, language and thinking skills so we can track your progress.
  • Tailor a treatment plan to your needs and goals.
  • Provide activities you can do at home between one-on-one sessions.

The length of therapy and number of appointments varies by condition.


We’ll teach you strategies to help compensate for thinking and communication difficulties. We’ll also design exercise and practice programs to help you improve or regain abilities.

Treatments might include:

  • Memory tools: We’ll help you with memory logs, calendars, organizers, checklists.
  • Communication aids: We might show you how to use computers, picture boards, gestures and writing.
  • Problem-solving strategies: We’ll help you practice identifying problems and using reasoning to solve them. We might show you a photo of a car stopped on a highway, for example. Then we would ask you to identify the problem and how to solve it.
  • Mouth and breathing techniques: We’ll show you how to practice correct mouth movements to say words more clearly. We can also help you pace your speech, strengthen your mouth muscles and use your breath to speak louder.
  • Working with others: We can teach family members and caregivers how to communicate better with you by:
    • Limiting background noise when talking with you.
    • Giving you instructions in small steps: Instead of “brush your teeth,” they might say, “go to the sink,” “pick up your toothbrush,” and so on.
    • Waiting extra time for you to answer a question.

Learn more

For patients

Call 503-494-3151 to:

  • Make an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions


See OHSU Health rehabilitation locations across the Portland area.

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