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. Speech therapy includes two components:
- Coordinating the mouth to produce sounds to form words and sentences (to address articulation, fluency, and voice volume regulation).
- Understanding and expressing language (to address the use of language through written, pictorial, body, and sign forms, and the use of language through alternative communication systems such as social media, computers, and iPads).
How Speech Therapy is implemented:
Speech language pathologists figure out what kind of language problem thechild has. They determine what’s causing it and decide on the best treatment. Speech language pathologists may help kids build skills by working with them in one-on-one sessions as well as in small groups.
SLPs use strategies tailored for each child’s particular challenge. Treatment for the child may last for months or even for a few years. It is based on the needs of the child. Earlier the intervention better the prognosis.
Strategies might include:
- Language intervention activities: These activities build skills in a variety of ways, including modeling and giving kids feedback. The therapist might use pictures and books or play-based therapy.Child might have trouble putting their thoughts into words, following or giving directions, or narrating a story.
- Articulation therapy: The SLP models the sounds the child has difficulty with. This might include demonstrating how to move the tongue to create specific sounds, learn to speak more clearly.
- Feeding and swallowing therapy: The SLP teaches the child exercises to strengthen the muscles of the mouth. This might include facial massage and various tongue, lip and jaw exercises. She might also use different food textures to encourage awareness during eating and swallowing.