Who Needs A Speech Language Pathologist?
Most children are known to be talkative. However, some children may find it more difficult than others to speak clearly and expand their vocabulary. In such cases, a speech therapist may be needed. Here are a few frequently asked questions about speech therapists.
What is speech and language therapy?
Speech and language therapy is aimed at helping individuals develop better communication skills. These therapists can help a child enunciate properly, build a wider vocabulary, construct sentences and interact better with others. They can also help treat stutters and swallowing problems.
What does speech therapy involve?
Speech therapy can be practiced at home, in a clinic or at schools. The first step of this therapy is to set a clear goal. This goal should be measurable, realistic and be attached to a time frame. Therapy sessions may be in the form of group sessions or one-on-one sessions. This also includes parent education programs to help build an environment that fosters learning.
Can speech therapy benefit children with learning disabilities?
Speech therapy can be very beneficial for children with learning disabilities like autism or down syndrome. In such cases, a speech therapist can help the child develop better speech patterns and help them express themselves. By doing this, they can also make the child a better listener and help them follow simple instructions and answer questions.
When does a child need speech therapy?
If a child does not meet the general milestones for his or her age by the age of 2 years, he may need to see a speech therapist. This includes a limited vocabulary, using single words instead of phrases, answering questions by repeating the question etc. Not being able to pronounce vowels could also be a sign that speech therapy is needed.
How long will a child need speech therapy?
Each child learns at a different pace. Hence, there is no uniform duration of speech therapy. The duration of the therapy depends on the severity of the problem, the improvement shown in sessions and reinforcement available at home.
How can parents help with speech therapy?
A therapist has limited time available with the child. Hence, the responsibility of evaluating the child’s progress falls largely on the parents. Parents are involved in the therapy right from the stage of setting goals. Later, they can also help by reinforcing the therapist’s exercises at home. For this, the therapist may share instructional videos with the parents.
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.
A person might be referred to visit a speech therapist or more precisely, a speech language pathologist for a variety of disorders. A speech language therapist can help people having problems related to speech, hearing and swallowing.
If we have to talk more on specific terms, a SLP can help in assessing the problem and treat problems related to:
Now we will take a look at some of the therapies which a SLP would utilize to treat some of the more common speech-language disorders.
Speech disorders refer to the conditions that affect an individual’s ability to form sounds that allow them to communicate with others. They are not the same as language disorders. Speech disorders stop people from producing correct speech sounds. A language disorder, on the other hand, affects one’s ability to comprehend language and learn words. Nevertheless, both disorders make it difficult for a person to express feelings and thoughts in front of others.
Types of Speech Disorders
Speech disorders can affect anyone, at any age. Some common types of speech disorders are the following –
Stuttering – This type of speech problem interrupts your normal speech flow. Frustration, excitement, or stress can cause stuttering to become more serious.
Apraxia – This refers to brain damage resulting in impediment of an individual’s motor skills. Speech Apraxia specifically refers to the damage of motor skills affecting a person’s ability to create speech sounds correctly, even if they are aware of the right words.
Dysarthria – This occurs when brain damage causes the face muscles – lips, tongue, or throat – to weaken. Muscle weakness in certain body parts can make it difficult for a person to speak correctly.
Symptoms of Speech Disorders
If you have a speech disorder, you are likely to experience symptoms such as –
Prolonging or repeating sounds
Adding syllables or sounds to words
Difficulty in pronouncing
Psychological Rehabilitation for Speech Problems
Psychological rehabilitation includes certain programs like speech therapy and physical exercises that help the disabled person cope with the physical as well as emotional aspects of the impairment.
The rehabilitation program provides support to the patient when performing routine activities, which might be challenging to cope with otherwise when you have a certain speech disorder. A team of professionals offer assistance with behaviours, emotions, and developing coping skills.
Autism is a kind of developmental disability, which usually crops up before a child attains the age of 3. It is just part of a group of neurological disorders, which involve impaired communication along with impairment in social interaction and cognitive skills. It is better known as Autism spectrum disorder, it might well be linked with a wide variety of traits.
The traits include:
Activities done on a repetitive basis.
Extreme level of resistance to changes brought about in daily routines.
Very unusual reactions to things like touch.
Problem having interactions with the environment.
Children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder can have some of the major problems with regard to both speech and carry out communications in a non-verbal manner. Social interactions might also become very difficult propostions for them.
This is where, speech therapy comes to the rescue of these patients. It is the central part of treatment for autistic children. The speech therapy can help take care of a wide variety of communication problems occurring among people with autism.
Common Speech and Communication Problems Associated With Autism
Social communication, development of language and speech can get adversely affected by autism in more than one way.
A person with autism can have the speech problems, wherein they may:
Not communicate at all.
Tend to utter cries, grunts, shrieks, harsh or throaty sounds.
Talk or just hum in a musical manner.
Utter words, might can sound to be alien or robotic.
Often look to repeat whatever another person says.
Around 30% of people, suffering from autism has problem in producing speech sounds to ensure effective communication with others. The language, even if it is present, can be too difficult to be understood by others.
Communication problems can occur in various ways, for people who suffer from autism. The challenges faced by them while communicating are as follows:
Communication requires a person to make eye contact with another person or even make certain gestures. People with autism will have serious trouble in meeting up with the conversational skills.
They would have difficulty in understanding the meaning of words, which are out of context from what they have actually learned.
They would have very little understanding of the meaning of words and symbols.
Treatment through Speech Therapy
Speech therapy can help children get rid of the problems in speaking, as well as those related to communicating and interacting with others. This involves non-verbal skills such as making direct eye contact, taking initiative in conversations and understanding of different kinds of gestures.
This therapy can also teach children the art of expressing themselves by using picture symbols, computers or through sign language.
Five Principles of Speech Therapy
There are basically five principles used as a framework, to work upon in speech therapy with children, suffering from autism. They include:
Establishing Functional Communication In A Spontaneous Manner –
Providing Social Instruction in Different Settings throughout the Day
Target Peer Interactions
Even Provide Training and Support to Other Adults
Look to Fine Tune Communication Skills as Other Areas Improve.
Stammering or stuttering is a speech disorder resulting in discontinuity in the pace and rhythm of the speech. Stammering usually results from such physiological factors as neuromuscular problems, obstruction in the speech organs, difficulty in moving your lips and tongue, inability to control the muscles that are vital to speech. Difficulty in pronouncing a word, repetition of a word or emphasizing on a particular word for a long time, often followed by certain signs such as shaking of lips, rapid blinking of eye- these are the usual signs of stammering.
Although more common among children at an early age, stammering can affect people of all age groups. The most common and effective treatment suggested by doctors and healthcare professionals to help reduce stammering is speech therapy.
Speech therapy requires time and patience. You will need to sit with your speech specialist for multiple sessions, say twice or thrice a week. Each of the therapy sessions takes about 2-4 hours. The time period and amount of stammering therapy needed vary from one person to another, depending on how much progress you make. During a speech therapy session, your doctor will teach you the following-
For those who have been handicapped with this speech disorder since many years, it may take much longer time to get rid of the negative feelings associated with stammering, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Speech therapy is a simple yet effective treatment to overcome stammering in the long run.
Speech therapy is a very specific field of medicine where the therapists deal with speech disorders in children and adults, which may be a result of certain mental or personality disorders. These doctors can be essential when it comes to teaching a child how to articulate better and also to be more expressive of his/her feelings. Here is a look at a few of the benefits of a speech therapist in the life of a child suffering from speech impairment.
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There are instances when a kid doesn’t show the usual signs of development compared to their peers. Most parents take it casually thinking that their child will catch up in due course only to find a larger problem associated with it. It is therefore extremely important to discuss speech and language related delays with a medical practitioner to find out whether a child is immature or has a genuine problem which requires medical help. A child can show different signs as per age:
Different age group:
What are the warning signs?
If a child between the age of 1-2 is not able to do the following things:
A child between the age of 2-3 needs evaluation if:
Possible causes of speech and language delay:
What does the pathologist assess?
Post the above evaluation a pathologist directs a plan of action. Sometimes speech therapy sessions are recommended in order to improve kids’ skill. For a motor related problem, a doctor can state a plan of action and limit the expectation of parents. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Speech Therapist.