Speech therapists are known by different names but most commonly, they are referred by people as speech therapists, who make children undertake different speech therapies to make them recover from their problem in talking or in their attempt to express their thoughts. These therapists work with children having a range of disorders and delays from minor articulation delays to more complex kind of disorders such as hearing impairment, motor speech disorders and other developmental delays.
We will now look at some of the ways through which speech therapy can help in the better development of a particular child:
Articulation skills and speech intelligibility: The physical ability to get the tongues, lips, jaws and palate moving in order to produce sounds of speech individually, which people call as phonemes. For instance, in order to articulate the /b/ sound, one needs to inhale, then at the time of exhaling, one has to turn their voice on by bringing the slightly tensed lips together to pause and build the airflow up, then finally release the airflow by getting the lips parted.
Intelligibility is all about how well people can understand a child’s speech. A speech therapist can work along with the child to teach them on ways to produce particular speech sounds or certain patterns, he or she is having difficulty with, which in turn is affecting his overall speech intelligibility.
Expressive language skills: On one hand, where speech requires physical motor ability for talking, language refers to a symbol or a definite rule-governed system used for conveying a message. In the English language, the symbols could be in the form of words, either spoken or in written form. There are also certain symbols in the form of gestures like shrugging of shoulders to give the impression that he doesn’t know a certain thing or a wave to indicate bye-bye or getting their eyebrows raised to indicate that one is surprised by an event or by hearing something.
So, basically expressive language is referred to something which a child says through signs and gestures. Speech therapists can let a child learn new words and teach them how to put the words together and hence form phrases and sentences, hence allowing them to communicate with others.
Receptive language or development of listening skills: Receptive language is nothing but a child’s ability to listen and understand a particular language. Often, children tend to have stronger skills for receptive language than the skills required for expressive language. Hence, understanding becomes easier for them than their ability to express whatever they have understood. A speech therapist can help in teaching a child new words and the way they should be used to follow particular directions, reply to questions and thus take part in simple conversations with peers and other people.
Speech fluency: Speech fluency is affected by stuttering, which refers to the breaks in the flow of speech. This hampers one’s ability to talk freely. Through speech therapy, a child can come across different strategies on how to control this behavioral pattern and lead to an increase in speech fluency.