Speech therapy is the process of assessing and treating speech disorders and communication problems. It is conducted by SLPs (Speech-Language Pathologists), also called speech therapists.
Techniques of speech and language therapy are utilized to enhance communication. Such methods include activities for language intervention, articulation therapy, and others based on the kind of language or speech disorder.
Such therapy might be required for speech disorders that develop in childhood or speech problems in adults caused by illness or injury like brain injury or stroke. For instance, speech therapy for adults includes social communication, breathing, mouth, and swallowing exercises.
Why is Speech Therapy Important?
The following disorders and issues of speech and communication can be handled by Language and Speech therapists:
Disorders of articulation
This disorder involves the inability to properly form certain word sounds. Children with this disorder may add, distort, swap, or drop word sounds. An example of this distortion of word sounds is saying ‘thith’ instead of ‘this.’
Disorders of fluency
This disorder impacts the speed, rhythm, and flow of speech. Some of the fluency disorders include cluttering and stuttering. Persons with cluttering may speak very fast or merge words. Individuals who stutter might find it tough to get out a sound, often repeating a single syllable or letter before managing to speak it out loud.
This disorder occurs when there is an obstruction or blockage of the regular flow of air in the oral or nasal cavities, which changes the vibrations that impact voice quality. This issue can also happen when there is improper closure of the velopharyngeal valve. These disorders are often linked to problems like swollen tonsils, neurological disorders, and cleft palate.
This disorder makes it tough to process and understand what others say. This results in one seeming bored while others are speaking, having a limited vocabulary, and finding it tough to follow directions. Significant causes behind this disorder include hearing loss, autism, head injuries, or other language disorders.
This disorder involves trouble in expressing or conveying information. Those with expressive conditions find it tough to form proper sentences, such as using the wrong tense of verbs. This disorder is linked to developmental issues like hearing loss and Down’s syndrome. Medical conditions like head trauma can also cause it.
Disorders of cognitive communication
Such disorders refer to trouble communicating due to an injury to the part of the brain that controls the capacity to think. This can result in issues of memory, problems in listening & speaking, and problem-solving. This disorder can have biological causes like abnormal development of the brain, neurological conditions, stroke, or brain injury.
This communication disorder is an acquired one that impacts a person’s ability to understand and speak to others. Primarily, it also affects the power of a person to write and read. Stroke is the most common cause of this condition, but other brain disorders can also cause it.
In this condition, slurred or slow speech occurs because of a weakness or inability to control the muscles used for speaking. The most common causes include nervous system disorders, facial paralysis, and tongue and throat weakness due to stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or multiple sclerosis (MS).
CONSTITUENTS OF SPEECH-THERAPY
The first step of speech therapy is an evaluation of the speech and language disorder by the SLP, who identifies the problem and determines the mode of treatment.
Speech therapy for children
Based on the disorder, speech therapy for your child may take place one-on-one, in a group, or in a classroom. Activities and exercises may differ based on the child’s age, needs, and disorder. While conducting speech therapy, the SLP might:
- Interact via playing and talking as well as using pictures, books and other objects for the sake of language intervention in order to stimulate the development of language.
- Model the correct syllables and sounds for a child during age-suitable play to teach the child to make specific sounds.
- Offer homework and strategies for the caregiver/ parent and the child to conduct speech therapy at home.
Adults’ speech therapy
Even speech therapy for adults starts with assessing and determining the individual’s needs and the ideal treatment. Exercise in speech therapy for the sake of adults will help with cognitive-communication, language, and speech. Another aspect of treatment for adults is retraining the function of swallowing in case a medical condition or injury like Oral cancer or Parkinson’s disease results in difficulties in swallowing.
Exercises may include organization, memory, problem-solving, and other activities to boost cognitive-communication, breathing exercises to correct resonance, conversational tactics to improve social communication, and practicing strong oral muscles.
In sum, speech and language therapy helps treat a wide range of speech and communication delays and disorders in adults and children. Early intervention is vital for successful outcomes of treatment.