Speech refers to the sounds produced by our mouth. We produce sounds to express and communicate.
A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds. A language disorder refers to a problem understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.
Speech-language therapy helps to coordinate the mechanics of speech with the social use of language. Speech therapy focuses on:
- Ability to understand language
- Ability to use ideas to express
When a speech or language problem is identified and treated early in a child, it is unlikely that the problem will persist or get worse.
Kids might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:
- hearing impairments
- cognitive (intellectual, thinking) or other developmental delays
- weak oral muscles
- chronic hoarseness
- birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate
- motor planning problems
- articulation problems
- fluency disorders
- respiratory problems (breathing disorders)
- feeding and swallowing disorders
- traumatic brain injury
When Is Therapy Needed?
Therapy should begin as soon as possible. Children enrolled in therapy early (before they’re 5 years old) tend to have better outcomes than those who begin therapy later. This does not mean that older kids can’t make progress in therapy; they may progress at a slower rate because they often have learned patterns that need to be changed.
Speech and Language Therapists HELP your child by:
- Identifying developmental speech, language and communication difficulties/disorders.
- Assessment and treatment of swallowing and communication difficulties
- Planning, implementing and revising specific language / learning intervention.
- Modifying communication environments.
- Working with children on a one-on-one basis to deliver speech language communication therapy.
- Working with children in groups for enhancing social interaction, communication, following rules for conversations and play behaviour.
- Designing and implementing Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices and methods for children who have little or no verbal ability.
- Monitoring and evaluating child’s progress and modifying programs, if necessary, to ensure development.
- Advising care takers on implementing treatment programs and supporting.
Speech Therapy Programmes for Children:
A speech language pathologist introduces fun-filled activities to strengthen the child in his/her areas of weakness. A child’s therapy programme becomes successful with the total involvement of parents. Children learn skills faster with long-lasting results when parents closely follow the home programmes suggested by speech therapists.
A child develops communication in his/her early years. Speech delay in a child may be simple or may be the sign of a serious disorder. Any problem in speech, language or communication can have significant effects on a child’s social and academic skills if not attended to without delay. As a responsible parent it is necessary to be encouraging and alert in his/her early years and do not hesitate to seek professional help if you have any concerns in your child’s speech or communication skills.