What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is an intervention service that focuses on improving a child’s speech and abilities to understand and express language, including nonverbal language. Speech therapists, or speech and language pathologists (SLPs), are the professionals who provide these services.
Does My Child Need Speech Therapy?
Some children may have good pronunciation and may even be early readers, but they may need speech therapy to improve “pragmatic” language, or the process of using verbal and body language appropriately in social situations for everyday purposes such as making requests, having conversations, and making friends. Other reasons children may need speech therapy include medical conditions such as a brain injury or infection that has affected their ability to communicate and an identifiable disability such as autism and Down syndrome.
What Do Speech and Language Pathologists Do?
An SLP may identify a language-based learning disability in students who struggle to read and express themselves verbally and in writing. In order to write, children must be able to put their ideas into words and organize those words into sentences. Also, language challenges make it hard for children to understand and follow directions. The SLP can help build these skills. To provide direct treatment, SLPs perform evaluations and consult with parents and teachers to create language-rich environment /classrooms. The goal is to make language fun, develop friendships, and enable students to communicate effectively in order to better succeed in their school and daily life.
Speech Therapy Programs
Speech and language pathologists not only assess and treat articulation, language and cognitive difficulties, but also focus on swallowing and feeding if the patient has difficulty in these area.
The SLP might bring use some blow toys and whistles and have “blow the cotton ball” relay races to strengthen muscles used in speech and eating. Using crazy straws, a toothbrush that makes music, and blowing bubbles might also be fun strategies to help children tolerate different sensations in their mouths.