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Speech-Language Therapy for Kids

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  • November 26, 2020
  • MKB Team

 

What are the techniques used in speech-language therapy for kids?


What is speech and language therapy?

Speech and language therapy is the process of enabling people to communicate to the best of their ability. It is the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders performed by speech-language pathologists, commonly known as speech and language therapists.

What is the role of speech and language therapists?

Speech and language therapists assess the nature of the child’s problem. Then, the treatment, advice and support are decided upon. Therapists work closely with the child, their family and members of other related professions like doctors, physiotherapists and teachers. The focus of a therapist is to improve a child’s speech and work on the abilities to comprehend and express language, including nonverbal language. 

What are the techniques used?

The techniques therapists employ to improve communication include articulation therapy, language intervention activities, and other activities based on the type of speech or language disorder.

There are two components of the therapy

  • Speech: Coordination of the mouth to produce sounds that form words and sentences. This is done for articulation, fluency and voice volume regulation.
  • Language: Comprehension and expression of language. This is done to address the issue of language with the aid of pictorial, written, body and sign forms. The use of alternative communication systems like social media, laptops and iPads has become increasingly common today in therapy.  

With early intervention, speech-language therapy can improve communication and boost self-confidence. Therapy might be restricted to individuals or a small peer group with similar communication challenges. The goal of the therapist in both cases is to develop friendships, make language fun and help students succeed at school using engagement and motivation. 

Treating the nonverbal child requires alternative communication methods. Therapists also use pictures and simple sign language to enable them to communicate their needs. Fun methods are using toys and whistles and ‘blow the cotton ball’ relay races to strengthen muscles for speech. Using crazy straws, a musical toothbrush and blowing bubbles are other options.  

What are the common exercises?

The exercises therapists commonly use involve problem solving, memory, and organization, and other activities targeted at improving cognitive communication. Conversational tactics are employed to improve social communication, breathing exercises are done for resonance and there are exercises to strengthen oral muscles.

What are the speech-therapy options at home?

Most therapists give you homework exercises at home as a parent’s involvement in therapy is of equal importance. There are many resources available for home therapy. Language development games and toys, such as workbooks, flip cards and flash cards are helpful.  

 

What is language disability?

A language disability majorly affects a child’s ability to write. Children struggle to read and express themselves in written work. To write, children must be able to translate their ideas into words and organize these words into sentences. A child with a language challenge finds it difficult to understand and follow directions. The job of the therapist is to build these skills.  

What are the other reasons a child might need therapy?

While some children may possess excellent pronunciation skills and qualify as early readers, they might need speech therapy to enhance ‘pragmatic’ language. This means the process of using verbal and body language suitably in social situations where children need to have conversations, make requests or make new friends. Another reason for speech therapy involves a medical condition like an infection or brain injury that has affected communication abilities. Disabilities like Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, non-verbal learning disability, speech language impairment, ADHD also become social learning challenges. 

What are the speech and language disorders?

Speech and language therapy attempts to treat the following disorders. 

    • Articulation disorders.

      An articulation disorder is the inability to form certain word sounds properly. An example of distorting a word would be saying “thath” instead of “that”.
    • Fluency disorders.

      A fluency disorder affects the flow, speed, and rhythm of speech. Examples are stuttering and cluttering. A person with stuttering has problems getting out a sound and might have blocked or interrupted speech. This causes repetition in speech.  A person with cluttering often speaks rapidly, merging words together.
    • Resonance disorders.

      A resonance disorder takes place because of a blockage or obstruction of regular airflow in the nasal or oral cavities. This alters the vibrations responsible for voice quality. 
    • Receptive disorders.

      A person with receptive language disorder has trouble understanding and processing what others say. 
    • Expressive disorders.

      Expressive language disorder means the difficulty to convey or express information. One cannot form accurate sentences and uses incorrect verb tense. 
    • Cognitive-communication disorders.

      When it becomes difficult to communicate because of an injury to the brain it’s called cognitive-communication disorder. 
    • Aphasia.

      An acquired communication disorder affecting a person’s ability to speak and understand others. Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia.
    • Dysarthria.

      This condition causes slow or slurred speech due to the inability to control the speech muscles. 



Was this article helpful? Do recommend to parents with children who need speech-language therapy. We will be happy to receive your suggestions and inputs regarding the same. Do write in to us! 

 

Some frequently asked questions have been answered below for you!

You ask and we answer!

Why would a child need speech therapy?

Kids need speech-language therapy for reasons like hearing impairments, cognitive or other developmental delays, or having weak oral muscles.

How long will my child need speech therapy?

If a disorder is mild to moderate, with the child attending treatment consistently and families practicing homework, the duration of treatment could range from 4 to 5 months.

How do I know if my child needs speech therapy?

Your child needs speech therapy if 

  • He/She’s not babbling at age of 4-7 months.
  • There’s a lack of gesturing. 
  • There are issues with verbal requests.
  • Speech is not in sentences.
  • There are problems making certain sounds.

What is Einstein Syndrome?

Einstein syndrome is a condition where a child experiences late onset of language, or a late language emergence, but demonstrates giftedness in other areas of analytical thinking. A child with Einstein syndrome eventually speaks with no issues, but remains ahead in other areas.


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