Speech Therapy: What It Is, How It Works & Why You May Need Therapy
A speech disorder is a condition that makes it difficult for someone to communicate verbally. They could also be known as communication disorders.
Therapy that improves speech and language skills is called speech therapy. In addition to enhancing early language skills, it improves the production of voice and sound, comprehension, fluency, clarity, and expression of ideas. Speech therapy offers support and treatment for those with speech difficulties and communication issues. The method is effective for treating a variety of disorders in both adults and children.
Speech therapy is an effective treatment for people with speech and communication difficulties.
People with speech difficulties can receive care and support from a speech-language pathologist (SLP) through speech therapy. They are medical experts who have received training in diagnosing and treating people with speech, language, and swallowing difficulties.
Speech Therapy can address other issues apart from speech disorders are :
- Delivering vocabularies (understanding language)
- Expressive words (using language)
- social interaction (using language in socially appropriate ways)
- spelling and reading (including dyslexia)
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Who needs speech therapy?
Children and adults with communication problems can benefit from speech therapy. Additionally, it can benefit those who have trouble swallowing or hearing. Your physician might advise speech therapy to help with in case of :
- Aphasia: Aphasia patients may have trouble speaking, writing, reading, and interpreting language. The disorder may emerge when a stroke or other trauma harms language-processing regions of your brain.
- Apraxia: People with apraxia are aware of what they want to express but struggle to put it into words. Reading, writing, swallowing, and other motor skills may be complex.
- Problems of articulation: Children with articulation problems cannot produce certain word sounds. For instance, they might say "wed" as"red" or other sounds.
- Cognitive and communication impairments: Communication problems can occur when the part of the brain that regulates thinking is disrupted. Cognitive-communication impairments can affect a person's ability to listen, speak, remember information, and solve problems.
- Dysarthria: Some neurological conditions, such as a stroke, MS, ALS, or multiple sclerosis, can cause the muscles that govern your speech to weaken. Dysarthria patients may speak slowly or erratically.
- Expressivity problems: It may be challenging for people with expressive disorders to speak or communicate their views. Developmental delays, hearing loss, or stroke are all associated with expressive problems.
- Fluency problems: Fluency disorders affect the rhythm, pace, and flow of speech. Fluency disorders include stuttering (interrupted or blocked speaking). Cluttering is also speaking quickly and collectively.
- Receptive dysfunction: Receptive disorders make it difficult for a person to understand or process what other people are saying. As a result, individuals could be verbally illiterate, have problems following instructions, or act uninterested in the conversation.
- Resonance abnormalities: Conditions that impact your nasal or oral canals can restrict airflow and change the vibrations that produce sound. Cleft palate, large tonsils, and other illnesses that impair the anatomy of these body components are associated with resonance disorders.
How It Works
Speech therapy works on several variables, including your age and the nature of your speech issue. It typically incorporates play, language-based board games, or activities requiring kids' sequencing. It concentrates on developing or reusing certain skill sets for adults.
Depending on your circumstances, a speech-language therapist will advise the best course of action. Out of all the different categories and procedures accessible, your healthcare provider will pick the one that is most helpful for you.
Some of the commonly known techniques and skills sets involve:
For each kid, speech-language treatment is customized to meet their unique needs. These are some specific abilities that SLPs work on:
- Knowledge of phonetics: SLPs may concentrate on rhyming and word sound recognition to advance this beginner's reading ability. It involves engaging in play and conversation with the kid while promoting language development through the use of images, books, and objects. The SLP may also employ repetition exercises and teach proper pronunciation to improve the child's linguistic abilities.
- Expressing more nuanced concepts: To assist children in putting their thoughts together in sentences, SLPs could teach "joining words" like and, but, or because.
- Increasing vocabulary: SLPs could use storytelling or acting to help children memorize words.
- Conversing abilities: SLPs might simulate conversations with children to teach them social cues.
- Swallowing Issues: An SLP can closely work with a child with chewing or swallowing problems to provide feeding and swallowing therapy. The child's oral awareness can be improved by using various food textures or using oral exercises to help strengthen the mouth's muscles.
- Exercises: To help strengthen the muscles around the mouth, the SLP may employ a variety of tongue, lip, and jaw exercises in addition to facial massage. Their future speech and communication may benefit from this.
Exercises done at home can also help adults with speech difficulties. Practicing these tips can help you improve your speech challenges:
- Practice your tongue- Bring your tongue back in after sticking it out for two seconds. Several times, go through this process. You might do the same exercise but move your tongue for two seconds to each corner of your mouth. Finally, continue to move your tongue in the same manner up and down. Your tongue will learn to move in coordinated patterns due to these workouts.
- Smiling- Just grinning in front of a mirror can help improve motor skills. Smile, relax, again, grin. Several times, go through this process.
- Puckering your lips- Try pouting your lips, then letting them down—several times. You may be able to control your mouth movement as a result.
- Reciting aloud- Reading aloud can be a great practice if your speech issue prevents you from moving your mouth and tongue appropriately. Work your way up from a few simple sentences in the beginning.
- Playing with words- Crossword puzzles, word searches, and memory games have been found in studies to assist in maintaining cognitive function and enhancing thinking abilities.
Benefits of Speech Therapy:
There are several advantages to speech therapy, including:
- A stronger sense of self-awareness.
- Greater individuality
- Increases capacity for understanding and communicating thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
- Young children's preparedness for school.
- Improved vocal performance.
- Early language development.
- Improved swallowing capacity.
- Enhanced standard of living
It may take some time, effort, and practice to recover from a speech impairment. But persistence and compassion go a long way. Ask your healthcare provider about scheduling a screening with a speech-language pathologist if you or your kid has trouble communicating. The benefits of speech therapy include increased independence, self-assurance, and a higher quality of life for you or your kid.