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Chicago Center – Clinical Services

Inpatient Acute Care Services

This service provides evaluation and treatment for adult patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the VA Chicago Healthcare System/ Lakeside Division who have voice, speech, language, cognitive and/or swallowing difficulties. Services are also provided to neonates with feeding/swallowing difficulties at the Prentice Women’s Hospital of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Outpatient Services

Services are provided to a variety of children and adults with speech, language, cognitive, voice, fluency and swallowing disorders. Many patients present with diagnoses including stroke and other neurologic disease, brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, head and neck cancer, and other laryngeal (vocal cord) pathologies.

Specialty Clinics

Specialty clinics and areas of special interest staffed by clinicians on the Chicago campus include:

The Swallowing Center at Northwestern University

The Swallowing Center at Northwestern University offers a comprehensive approach to evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders. Videofluoroscopic x-ray assessment of the swallow ( Modified Barium Swallow OR “The Cookie Swallow Test”) is integral in defining the anatomy and physiology of the oropharyngeal swallow. Identifying the disordered physiology under x-ray allows clinicians to apply a variety of treatment techniques to improve swallowing function during the test and define an effective exercise program for outpatient therapy. The goal of the swallowing center is to keep patients eating by mouth or returning to eating by mouth whenever possible. Following the x-ray study, outpatient swallowing therapy visits can be scheduled as needed. A physician referral is required for this procedure and therapy.

The Developmental Evaluation Clinic

This clinic is a follow-up evaluation clinic for children who are graduates from the neonatal nursery. Outside referrals are also taken for children with cognitive, motor or speech/language concerns. The multi-disciplinary team is comprised of Neonatologists, Physiatrists, Speech-Language Pathologist, Clinical Psychologist, Physical Therapist and a Social Worker. The team will evaluate the child and make recommendations for therapy and future follow-up.

The Voice Center at Northwestern

The Voice Center is a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Voice disorders range from vocal misuse to laryngeal (vocal cord) paralysis and other vocal pathologies. The Speech-Language Pathologist provides a comprehensive voice evaluation and vocal rehabilitation for professional and non-professional voice users. The otolaryngologist provides medical management.

The Lois Insolia ALS Center

The Lois Insolia ALS Center is an interdisciplinary center staffed by neurologists, nurses, Speech-Language Pathologist, occupational therapist, mobility specialist and social worker. The clinic evaluates and provides medical management to patients with motor neuron diseases such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS). The speech pathologist provides evaluation and recommendations for swallowing and communication including augmentative communication devices. For more information about this clinic go to

Voice Treatment Programs for Parkinson’s Disease


Northwestern is pleased to offer a two-part speech therapy program to help individuals with Parkinson’s regain and maintain effective communication: SPEAK OUT!® followed by The LOUD Crowd®.

SPEAK OUT!® places emphasis on speaking with intent and converting speech from an automatic function to an intentional act. Together, patients and their speech-language pathologist work through a series of speech, voice, and cognitive exercises outlined in a SPEAK OUT!® Workbook.

Upon completion of SPEAK OUT!®, patients transition to The LOUD Crowd®. This maintenance program consists of weekly group sessions led by a speech-language pathologist . The SPEAK OUT!® exercises are performed, and group members provide support, encouragement, and accountability to one another.

Participation in The LOUD Crowd®, along with daily home practice and six-month re-evaluations, has been shown to help patients maintain their communication skills throughout the progression of Parkinson’s. For more information about SPEAK OUT!® and The LOUD Crowd® or to schedule a speech evaluation, please call 312-926-3705.

For more information about SPEAK OUT!® and The LOUD Crowd®, see

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment for Parkinsons Disease

The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program is an intensive treatment program designed to improve communication abilities in patients with Parkinsons Disease. The program consists of 4 sessions per week for 4 consecutive weeks. This program focuses on increasing loudness, improving articulation and providing a carryover program for self-monitoring at home. For more information on this program see

Laryngectomy Rehabilitation

Clinicians at the Voice, Speech, Language Service and Swallowing Center are trained in several methods of alaryngeal speech rehabilitation for patients who have lost their larynx (voice box) due to cancer or other trauma. Training may include use of an artificial larynx, esophageal voice or placement and training with a tracheo-esophageal voice prosthesis. For information on laryngectomy and support groups in your area see: and