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.
There are several speech and language disorders that can be treated with 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.
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:
Exercises may include:
There are many resources available if you want to try speech therapy exercises at home, including:
The length of time a person needs speech therapy depends on several factors, including but not limited to:
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.
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.