As parents, we always what’s best for our kids. From choosing the best schools to choosing the best dentist for them, we all strive to provide them with the best healthcare professionals. And so, when it comes to searching for a speech-language pathologist, we must also find our way to the best one; but first and foremost, let us first get to know how therapies work.
Whether your kid has problems with written or spoken language, it is wise to immediately see a speech pathologist. That way, an assessment could be conducted to determine if your child needs a form of speech therapy. It’s better to attend to our child’s needs as early as possible so that there would be higher chances of improvement that could be attained as soon as possible.
There are many conditions that may cause a speech difficulty in your child; cases of cerebral palsy, autism or developmental delays may be some of these conditions. For some children, they may be dealing with a case wherein they may not understand language at all; for others, they may understand but they are unable to effectively communicate. Other areas of concerns may include being unable to pronounce certain letters well or being unable to speak with the right intonation. The aforementioned problems are only a few of the many ones which speech pathologists (SLPs) help with through various speech therapies.
A speech therapy is a clinical program which is intended to improve one’s skills and abilities in oral motor, speech and language. There are many different methods of speech therapy; the type of therapy will depend according to the problem that the child or person has.
Some speech therapy strategies used by speech pathologists may include the following:
- Articulation Therapy
This therapy includes exercises for articulation or sound production. In this therapy, the SLP would model the sounds which are incorrectly articulated. Often, the exercises and corrections are incorporated in fun activities. The speech pathologist may demonstrate as to how the tongue should move when making the “r” sound or whatever sound the child has difficulty with.
- Language Intervention
For kids who have not yet developed their language skills enough or at all, SLPs will form an interaction with the child talking and playing with them. The use of books, pictures and other props is common as it helps attract the kid’s attention. In order to help build language skills, repetition exercises are usually used.
- Oral motor therapy
For feeding or swallowing problems, speech pathologists may use oral exercises such as jaw exercises, lip or tongue exercises and even facial massages. These will help strengthen the muscles of the mouth for eating and drinking.
Benefits and Expectations
The main benefit for speech therapy is definitely the improvement in language,communication, or oral-motor skills. Research has, indeed, shown that kids with language problems who underwent speech therapy did have significant improvements. Aside from improving skills in communication and oral-motor, speech therapies have also helped children emotionally, academically and socially. Speech therapies have helped kids regain and/or develop confidence and loosen up frustrations in communicating.
Every parent should know that improving a speech or oral problem will take time; it is a process that will require effort, patience and understanding. Expect for your child to take his/her time in his journey to improvement; it may take several months to a couple of years. In addition, parents play essential roles in speech therapy for kids. SLPs may also give parents tasks and assigned activities to help the child improve even at home.