Speech therapists may begin working with a patient as young as infancy; in these cases, the parents are often involved in the process as well. Speech therapists use their knowledge of language development, along with their creativity, to assess each child’s strengths and weaknesses. They then formulate a personalized plan for treatment that can include exercises and activities that help with speech issues. Each therapy session is designed to be fun and engaging so that children will stay motivated and interested in learning new skills.
In addition to working directly with patients on an individual basis, speech therapists may also lead group sessions where they teach parents how they can help their children develop better communication skills at home through play-based activities as well as other techniques that encourage language acquisition.
Speech delays affect about 5% of all children, but that number increases to 8-10% for children who are at risk for developmental delays. These can include children born prematurely, children with hearing loss, and children with a history of recurrent ear infections.
If you think your child may be experiencing a speech delay, the first step is to schedule a visit with your pediatrician. They will be able to give you advice and make suggestions based on their professional experience. If—after consulting with your doctor—you decide to seek the help of a speech therapist, here are some things you should know:
Speech therapy is not “one-size-fits-all.” There are several different types and kinds of speech therapy, and some will be more helpful than others depending on what’s going on with your child. This means that it’s essential to find a therapist who specializes in working with children and has an expertise in treating speech delays.
Pediatric speech therapy is a form of pediatric rehabilitation designed to correct speech and language problems in children. It focuses on the development of communication and swallowing skills as well as oral motor functions such as chewing and swallowing. Speech therapists may utilize a variety of techniques including physical exercises, motor learning, play therapy, and even psychotherapy.
A child suffering from speech problems may have difficulty expressing himself or herself, communicating with others, or understanding what is being said to them. While some children develop these problems naturally over time, others require special help from their parents, teachers, and other caregivers to overcome their challenges. In order for a child to fully develop his or her communication skills, it’s important that they have access to quality speech therapy services at an early age. The sooner you begin your child’s therapy sessions with an experienced therapist the better chance they will have at developing effective communication skills that will last throughout their lifetime.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association defines a speech disorder as a difficulty producing sounds or using voice to communicate. When a child has trouble communicating, he can’t express his needs and feelings, learn from experiences, or develop social relationships. A speech disorder can also interfere with academic performance at school. Pediatric speech therapy is an intervention which involves working with a speech-language pathologist that can help your child communicate more effectively. The speech therapist will determine your child’s communication strengths and weaknesses and create a plan to help improve their communication skills.