Speech therapy treatment focuses on speech, language, cognitive-communication, and oral/feeding/swallowing skills to address various types of communication problems (articulation; fluency; voice; receptive and expressive language disorders, and so on).
A speech-language pathologist (SLP), often informally known as a speech therapist, uses a variety of strategies, including:
Language: The SLP interacts with a child by playing, talking, and/or using pictures, books, objects, or events to stimulate language development. The therapist may also model correct pronunciation and use repetition exercises to build speech and language skills.
Articulation: The SLP models correct sounds and syllables for a child, often during play activities. The level of play is age-appropriate and related to the child’s specific needs. The SLP may show the child how to make certain sounds, such as the “r” sound, and may demonstrate how to move the tongue to produce specific sounds.
Oral-Motor: The SLP uses a variety of oral exercises — including facial massage and various tongue, lip, and jaw exercises — to strengthen the muscles of the mouth. The SLP also may work with different food textures and temperatures to increase a child’s oral awareness during eating and swallowing.
Who Can Benefit from Speech Therapy?
Children might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including:
- apraxia of speech
- articulation disorders
- auditory processing deficits
- augmentative communication
- autism spectrum disorders
- birth defects – such as cleft lip or cleft palate
- cognitive deficits/delays
- developmental delays
- excessive drooling
- feeding and swallowing disorders
- fluency/stuttering disorders
- hearing impairments
- language deficits
- motor planning problems
- oral motor delays
- phonological disorders
- respiratory problems (breathing disorders)
- social skill deficits
- traumatic brain injury
- voice disorders
- weak oral muscles
Therapy should begin as soon as possible. Children enrolled in therapy early (before they’re five years old) tend to have better outcomes than those who begin therapy later. This does not mean that older children can’t make progress in therapy; however, they may progress at a slower rate because they often have learned patterns that need to be changed.
Speech Disorders and Language Disorders
A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.
Articulation Disorders: difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners can’t understand what’s being said.
Fluency Disorders: problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonged sounds and syllables.
Resonance or Voice Disorders: problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what’s being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking.
Dysphagia/Oral Feeding Disorders: difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing.
Receptive Disorders: difficulties understanding or processing language.
Expressive Disorders: difficulties putting words together.
Since 2002, Children’s Therapy Center, PSC has served thousands of families in Louisville, Kentucky, by providing high-quality therapy services and parent education.
For more information about our Speech Therapy services, please contact us.