Speech-language therapy or speech therapy as it is sometimes called is a treatment that is given to children who have issues with their speech or with their language. These are called speech disorders or language disorders. There are a lot of children who suffer from the disorders and their parents, guardians, teachers, or any other adult never thinks about helping them out. Some people think that they are irreversible and the children have to live with it and suffer all through their lives. But now, thanks to the advancement in education and speech therapy, you can contact the best speech therapists no matter where they are in the world. Whether you are in Texas, Tokyo, or Liverpool speech pathology experts can help you and guide you so that you and your children can lead a happy life.
Following are the common disorders found in less-abled children:
· Speech Disorder
For those of you who do not know, a speech disorder is when a person has difficulty making various sounds. There are several types of speech disorders and you have to know which one your child suffers from. When you take your child to a speech-language pathologist, they will identify the disorder and start the treatment.
· Articulation Disorder
When a person cannot create the sounds that are in the syllables and speaks incorrectly so much that the listeners might have a lot of difficulties trying to understand what he just said, those are called articulation disorders.
· Fluency Disorder
The major fluency disorder is stuttering. If a person is continuously stopped unusually and repeats some sounds or partial words, that is a fluency disorder. A person with a fluency disorder can also prolong some sounds and syllables. Not all people with fluency disorder stop at the same sound or repeat the same syllables.
· Resonance Disorder
If a person has issues with his pitch then he might be suffering from resonance disorder. He might also have problems with the quality of his voice or his volume. These might affect the listeners by distracting them from the actual content. If we are talking about resonance disorder in a child, it can be uncomfortable for a child to talk and pronounce words properly.
· Language Disorders
When people have difficulty understanding some words or they have a problem putting together some words, then they are said to be suffering from language disorders. These people find it very hard to communicate their ideas to others. There are two categories of language disorders. They can be either receptive or expressive. A person is suffering from a receptive disorder if he cannot understand a language or is unable to properly process it. If a person is presented with issues that keep him from putting together words or if the person has a very limited vocabulary according to his age or if he is not using the language properly then those people have an expressive disorder. These disorders make it very awkward for people to remain in public and they choose to limit their interaction with other people.
· Cognitive-communication Disorder
These occur when people have problems with their memory, or other organization skills like attention, perception, regulation or they could have problem-solving.
Speech-language therapists or Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) as they are often called, are the experts who have studied human communications and its various aspects. They also know the disorders that can affect speech. They assess the various skills that are related to speech and language and identify the correct disorder so that they can treat it properly.
Speech-language pathologists work with children in a one-on-one setting, in pairs, or in small groups. They can also work in a classroom environment. They help children overcome their disorders so that they can lead a normal life.
The Need for Speech Therapy
The question arises that why some children need this kind of therapy. There are a wide variety of reasons why some children have to see a speech-language pathologist. Some of them are:
- Problem with their hearing
- Delays with their cognitive development like thinking and intellect
- If their oral muscles are not strong enough
- Long term hoarseness
- A cleft in their palate or their lip
- If they have issues with their motor planning
- If they have issues with articulating a statement
- Fluency disorders
- If they have a disorder of the respiratory system
- If they face issues with eating or swallowing
- If they have suffered a brain injury
Benefits of Speech Therapy for Children
Following are some of the benefits of speech therapy in children:
1. Better Communication
The most obvious benefit that children can gain from speech therapy is that they become much better at communicating their ideas and thoughts to others. As humans, we need to communicate. We talk to many people daily, whether it is at home, for work, social interaction, or more. If we are not capable of this communication, our entire world can fall apart. Speech therapy can ensure that a child never has to go through that and they are capable of being as creative and as expressive with their communication as they can.
2. Better Education
Studies have shown that children who can communicate their ideas to others effectively also perform much better than other children in the class. When a child performs better than expected, it not only increases his motivation but also boosts his self-confidence as well as his self-image.
3. Better Control of the Oral Muscles
One benefit of speech therapy that is usually not highlighted is the fact that children who undergo speech therapy gain better control of their oral muscles as compared to before getting the therapy. This control over their muscles can help them swallow, bite, chew or perform any other function. Sometimes when a child is suffering from a speech or language disorder, it is only because his oral muscles are weak or they have not fully developed. When the child gets speech therapy, the speech-language pathologist goes through various exercises with the child to strengthen his oral muscles. This way the children gain full control of their muscles and perform the day to day operations with better clarity and control.
4. Enhanced Confidence
A child who cannot speak properly lacks confidence. They shy away from social interaction and prefer to remain alone. When the child gets speech therapy, it enables him to look at himself in a new light and enhances his self-image as well as boosts his confidence.
5. Increased Vocabulary
Speech therapy not only increases the child’s control over his oral muscles, but it also improves his vocabulary. Before the speech therapy, the child was not talking that much so he didn’t need a big vocabulary. But after the therapy, since the child needs more vocabulary, he learns new words.
It’s heartbreaking for parents of a child with speech-disorder to their child lagging behind and not being able to cope up with the rest of the normal kids at school. But now with so much development in the communication field, speech pathologists have contributed towards speech development in less-abled children. If your child has a speech disorder, speech therapy is one of the best gifts that a parent can give them.