What is speech therapy? How is it implemented?

Speech therapy is an intervention aimed at treatment of anomalies in speaking, ability to understand and express language, including both verbal and non-verbal communication. A person, usually a child, who has been identified as having difficulties in speaking and proper communication is usually advised to take speech therapy services. The person responsible for this treatment is a speech therapist or a speech and language pathologist (SLP), both qualified to provide speech therapy services to any individual who needs them. 

Need for Speech Therapy Services

The reasons for needing speech therapy can be socio-cultural as well as medical. Often times, children need speech therapy to learn to use body language and verbal communication in an appropriate manner in social situations. At other times, there are medical situations like brain injury or infection and disorders like the Down Syndrome responsible for this. Despite there being different causes for speech problems, speech therapy services can be used to treat all of them. 

Speech problems are also a big deterrent in the writing skills of an individual, later hindering their academic lives as well. One cannot write well if they have stunted comprehension skills in regards to speech and language. Therefore, the need for speech therapy services and a good speech therapist rises.

Speech Therapy Implementation

Speech therapists often get cases where the parents have identified the problem in their children, therefore, the speech therapy services start at a young age in most cases. The actual therapy can be comprehended in two phases:

  1. Articulation and speaking

In this phase of the treatment implementation, the speech therapist focuses on getting the patient to coordinate their mouth to form sounds, words and later, full sentences. By doing this, the individual’s articulation improves and the spoken word comes out with more fluency without too long breaks in between. They also learn to control the volume at which they speak. All of these skills and learning improve speaking skills in everyday life.

  1. Understanding language

The understanding of the language for an individual needing speech therapy services is not just limited to the spoken or written language, it also involves social cues, body language, pictorial representations and through alternative communication systems. A speech therapist will also improve the patient’s ability to comprehend and respond in kind to the language in which communication is going on. This also includes communication happening over mediums like media, i-pads, computers etc. 

Recently, the role of speech therapists has also been evolving to include the monitoring of other activities that affect the speech of an individual. SLP treating swallowing disorders these days are also watchful of all details of feeding to curb some of the speech problems born out of this particular situation. 

Some of the overt and common symptoms that a speech therapist can tackle include distorted sounds while talking, elongated words, jerky movements while speaking, visible dissatisfaction and nervousness while making trying to make a point, etc. Seeking out professional speech therapy services can work wonders in identifying the root cause of such problems and then treating them successfully!

Author: Danny

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