thank you

Menorah Park and Montefiore of Menorah Park are now one integrated foundation and will continue to honor the rich philanthropic legacy of all of our past benefactors.


The Speech Language Pathologist’s Role in Safety

Posted on 10/30/21 by Michael in Peter B. Lewis Aquatic Center

Can a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) help to keep you safe?

An SLP’s role in safety will vary with every situation, but the first step will always involve the evaluation of a client’s cognitive function to determine the best course of treatment. Older adults with cognitive impairment are twice as likely to fall than older adults with normal cognition. Detecting cognitive impairment helps SLPs identify those who are at higher risk for falling.

What does a speech therapy evaluation for cognition consist of?

Cognition is referring to the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension. SLPs can evaluate cognitive function through structured observations, interviews, and standardized assessments. Assessment results reveal both deficits and strengths, this information will help them design a course of treatment when appropriate. The goal in identifying deficits is not to reduce the client’s independence, but rather to establish interventions that will allow the client to enhance their independence and safety. It is very common for an SLP to collaborate with physical therapists and/or occupational therapists to help a client further improve their safety and independence.

What are some signs/symptoms that indicate someone might have a cognitive impairment?

Close friends and family are commonly the first to notice cognitive problems in their loved ones. Some common signs that someone might be having problems with cognition are:

  • Difficulty finding the right words in conversation and losing the thread of conversations
  • Difficulty carrying out familiar daily tasks, such as managing the correct change when shopping
  • Confusion about time and place
  • Forgetting major recent events and conversations
  • Feeling disorganized and distracted
  • Difficulty navigating familiar places
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Forgetting about upcoming appointments or events

What can you expect during speech treatment sessions?

SLPs can help clients modify their daily activities so that they’re easier to perform and can make recommendations for adapting a client’s environment for safety. SLP can also help to improve one’s ability to remember. They do this by instructing clients in specific exercises for enhancing memory, problem-solving skills, attention, and perception. Their programs can be designed for the client to do at home, and they can also provide training to caregivers.

Speech Therapy Techniques in Safety

  • Errorless Learning: This is a method of teaching that prevents the client from making mistakes while learning a new skill. This technique aims to prevent clients from giving “wrong” answers to capitalize on positive outcomes.
  • Spaced Retrieval Therapy: This is a technique that trains the learning and retention of specific information by recalling it over increasingly long intervals.
  • Vanishing Cues: This technique is used to assist a client in acquiring information using vanishing cues until the client can use the information acquired with optimal independence.
  • Sequencing Techniques: SLPs can help a person learn or re-learn the steps involved in executing an activity in a particular order. Some examples that are frequently targeted in therapy are: transferring in and out of a chair safely, getting dressed, and organizing medications. Failing to sequence activities of daily living effectively may lead to increased pain, falls, and avoidance of completing important activities of daily living.

The Speech Language Pathologist’s Role in Safety

Pictured: Kelly Hilborn, Speech-Language Pathologist at Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center

To help improve safety, it’s critical that cognitive impairments are identified in order to implement the most appropriate strategies. SLPs use learning tools such as errorless learning, spaced retrieval training, and vanishing cues to help their clients enhance cognitive function, improve safety, and reduce fall risk. Learn more about our speech therapy services or call 216.595.7345 for more information.


  • Wynn, R. (2016, July 5). The SLP’s Role in Fall Prevention. Retrieved from
  • Blackwood, J., Shubert, T., Fogarty, K., Chase, C. (2015). Relationships between performance on assessments of executive function and all risk screening measures in community-dwelling older adults. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, 00, 1-8. DOI: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000056Res

Sign up for our newsletter to receive wellness resources, campus news and more.


Photo Gallery

1 of 22

Your download is waiting.

Enter your email address below to access this resource.


Would you like to receive resources on aging, campus news, and more?

Sign up now for the Menorah Park email newsletter.

No, thanks. Pleae don't ask me again.

Menorah Park + Montefiore

Learn about our expanded services and support.


We're here to help. Contact us now.