The progressive neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) impacts voluntary muscle movement and, ultimately, the ability to speak, swallow and breathe. At Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) ALS Clinic, the widespread effects of motor neuron degeneration are addressed in afternoon-long patient visits by a multidisciplinary team of specialists.
Amanda Cuth, MS, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist, guides people who are experiencing communication difficulties by providing a range of adaptive technology options to meet individual needs and instructions for integration into daily life. While there is no treatment to stop or reverse ALS progression, the region’s only ALS Association Recognized Treatment Center – part of Lehigh Valley Fleming Neuroscience Institute – helps people manage symptoms. Perhaps the most devastating of these is losing one’s voice.
“We’ve been doing this for many years and often hear that you don’t realize how much your voice is a part of you until it is changing or gone,” Cuth says. “To still have a way to participate in conversations with your family or tell your kids you love them is so critical.”