April 26, 2021 0

Speech therapy. What is speech therapy?

Speech therapy is the evaluation and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders. It is performed by speech-language pathologists (SLPs), who are often referred to as speech therapists. Speech therapy techniques are used to improve communication. These include articulation therapy, language interventions, and others, depending on the type of speech or language disorder. Speech therapy may be necessary for speech disorders that develop in childhood or adult speech disorders caused by injury or illness, such as stroke or brain injury.

Why do you need speech therapy?

There are several speech and language disorders that can be treated with speech therapy.

  • Articulation disorders. An articulation disorder is the inability to form certain verbal sounds correctly. A child with this speech disorder may drop, switch, distort, or add word sounds. An example of distorting a word would be saying "it" instead of "it".
  • FluencyDisorders. Fluency disorders affect the flow, speed, and rhythm of speech. Stuttering and slurring are both fluency disorders. The person who stutters has trouble getting the sound out and may have speech that is blocked or interrupted, or may repeat part of an entire word. A person with stuttering often speaks very fast and blends words together.
  • Resonance disorder. Resonance disorder occurs when a blockage or obstruction of regular airflow in the nose or mouth alters the vibrations responsible for the quality of the voice. It can also happen when the ear valve does not close properly. Resonance disorders are often associated with cleft palate, neurological disorders and swollen tonsils.
  • Receptive disorders. A person with receptive language disorder has trouble understanding and processing what others are saying. This can cause the person to seem uninterested when someone speaks, have trouble following directions, or have a limited vocabulary. Other language disorders, autism, hearing loss, and head trauma can lead to receptive language disorders.
  • Expressive Disorders. Expressive language disorders are difficulties in communicating or expressing information. If you have an expressive disorder, you may have trouble forming accurate sentences, such as using the wrong verb tense. It is associated with developmental disorders such as Down syndrome and hearing loss. It can also result from a head injury or medical condition.
  • Cognitive-communication disorder. Difficulty communicating because of an injury to the part of the brain that controls your ability to think is called cognitive-communication disorder. It can cause problems with memory, problem solving and difficulty speaking or listening. It can be caused by biological problems such as abnormal brain development, certain neurological conditions, brain injury or stroke.
  • Aphasia. This is an acquired communication disorder that affects a person's ability to speak and understand others. It also often affects a person's ability to read and write. Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia, although other brain disorders can also cause it.
  • Dysarthria. This condition is characterized by slow or slurred speech due to weakness or inability to control the muscles used for speech. It is most often caused by nervous system disorders and conditions that cause facial paralysis or weakness of the throat and tongue, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and stroke.

What happens during speech therapy?

Speech therapy usually begins with an evaluation by an SLP who will determine the type of communication disorder and the best way to treat it.

Speech therapy for children

For your child, speech therapy may take place in the classroom, in a small group or individually, depending on the speech disorder. Speech therapy exercises and activities vary depending on the speech disorder, age and needs of the child. During speech therapy for children, the SLP may:

  • interact through conversation and play and use books, pictures, and other objects in language intervention to help stimulate language development
  • model correct sounds and syllables for the child during age-appropriate play to teach the child how to make certain sounds
  • providing strategies and homework for the child and parent or carer on how to conduct speech therapy at home

Speech therapy for adults

  • Speech therapy for adults also begins with a needs assessment and the best treatment. Speech therapy exercises for adults can help you with speech, language and cognitive communication.
  • Therapy may also include retraining swallowing function if an injury or condition, such as Parkinson's disease or oral cancer, has caused swallowing difficulties.

Exercises may include:

  • problem solving, memory and organization, and other activities to improve cognitive communication
  • conversational tactics to improve social communication
  • breathing exercises for resonance
  • exercises to strengthen oral muscles

There are many resources available if you want to try speech therapy exercises at home, including:

  • speech therapy apps
  • Language development games and toys, such as flip cards and flash cards
  • workbooks

How long do you need speech therapy?

The length of time a person needs speech therapy depends on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • their age
  • type and severity of the speech disorder
  • frequency of therapy
  • underlying medical condition
  • treatment of the underlying medical condition

Some speech disorders begin in childhood and improve with age, while others continue into adulthood and require long-term therapy and maintenance. A communication disorder caused by a stroke or other medical condition can improve, as can medical treatment and as the condition improves.

How effective is speech therapy?

The effectiveness of speech therapy varies depending on the disorder being treated and the age group. The start of speech therapy can also affect the outcome. Shown speech therapy for young childrenTrusted Source is most effective when started early and practiced at home with parent or caregiver participation.

Speech therapy can treat a wide range of speech and language delays and disorders in children and adults. With early intervention, speech therapy can improve communication and increase self-confidence.

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