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What is Speech Therapy?

Speech therapy is a method that involves individuals to develop speech and language skills. It helps individuals to improve their communication (social) skills and to overcome problems related to speech and language disorders. It helps individuals to produce certain sounds which they find it difficult to pronounce. It is given one to one depending on the type of disorder and severity.

Who is called as Speech Therapist?

Speech therapists or SLP’s are professionals where they carry out detail assessment and provide management for children and adults (any age group) having speech, language, communication, cognition, feeding and swallowing disorders. They help individuals to have smooth flow of speech while communicating to each other. They use specific therapy techniques depending on individual’s diagnosis. They counsel regarding the disorder and severity to the family members for helping the individual to improve their social skills.

Role of an SLP :

  • As SLP’s works in various setups like Schools, Hospitals, Clinics, health care centers etc., they provide information regarding awareness, screening, and management for all
  • these disorders in children and adults.
  • Helps to prevent future complications of these disorders.
  • Gives counseling to parents, family members, caregivers etc., regarding the disorder and severity of the disorder related to speech and language disorders.
  • Prepares therapy plan for individual before attending the speech therapy session.
  • Explains parents regarding the child’s diagnosis and what steps should be followed to reduce the severity

SLP works on children and adult having different disorders like:

Language Disorders:

  • Autism.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Cerebral Palsy.
  • Cleft lip and Palate. (Unilateral or Bilateral)
  • Child with Hearing loss/ Cochlear implant (AVT).
  • Dysarthria.
  • Dyslexia (Learning disability).
  • Specific Language Impairment.
  • Intellectual Disability.
  • Syndromic children with speech and language delay.

 

  • Fluency Disorders. (Stuttering/ Stammering & Cluttering).
  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech
  • Articulation Disorders. (Substitution, Omission, Distortion & Addition).
  • Voice & its related disorders. (Puberphonia, Androphonia, Hoarseness, Harshness Professional Voice users).
  • SLP uses Standardized assessment Protocol for assessing and specific therapeutic interventions for all these above disorders.

Causes of speech and language disorders

  • Genetic.
  • Family history of speech and language disorder.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Natal history.
  • Head trauma.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Neurological conditions: Degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • Dementia.

When to consult an SLP?

For children:
If your child is having speech and language disorder, and you ignore it without consulting an SLP then the problem increases in severity or child may acquire secondary behaviors. If you find that your child is lacking socialization with peer group or family members or if your
child is finding difficulty in reading, writing, cognition, deviant developmental milestones, feeding issues, poor in academics, having poor memory or

keeps drooling. If your child is unable to produce certain speech sounds or you feel that the speech of your child is not age appropriate,
If you notice that your child is having poor attention span, eye contact and concertation.

For adults:
If you think that your rate of speech is too slow or too fast among your peer group, then consult an SLP where they help you to overcome your problem and build a wall to your future problems. If you had any recent stroke and having slurred speech, undergoing speech therapy within first 6
months of duration will have neural plasticity which helps in regaining near normal speech production. If you find difficulty in understanding & expressing speech, recalling memories, poor reasoning, poor naming, problem solving, and swallowing.
If there is any problem in your voice according to your gender. An SLP helps in providing information regarding the diagnosis.

  • Family history of speech and language disorder.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Natal history.
  • Head trauma.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Neurological conditions: Degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • Dementia.

When to consult an SLP?

Delay in developmental milestones, delayed speech production, born with high risk, lacking in socialization, having problem in reading, writing, cannot talk clearly, difficulty in producing certain sounds and having poor oral skills.

For Children:

When you find out that your child’s developmental milestones are not age-appropriate like neck control, head turning, crawling, sitting, or standing When your child is having less social skills or does not like to communicate with others.

When your child shows certain behaviors like (having less attention span, concentration, poor eye contact, hyperactive, hurting\hitting own self or others, stubborn, etc…).

When unable to produce certain speech sounds while communicating with each other. When your child is having problem in following simple commands, directions or having limited vocabulary. When your child is having problem in reading or writing.

For Adults :
Stuttering : When you think that your speech is too fast or slow compared to peer group or difficulty in producing certain sounds.

Aphasia : When they is problem in understanding speaker’s speech, recalling old memories, problem solving, poor naming, reasoning, and listening skills.

Voice disorder : When you feel that your Voice is different according to your gender

Resonance disorder : When you find that something is blocking or obstructing regular airflow in oral or nasal cavities while communicating with others.

Dysarthria: Having slow or slurred speech due to weakness or inability to control muscles used for articulating speech or while communicating with each other.

Advantages of speech and language therapy

  • Helps child to engage with other children or peer group.
  • Helps to improve communication skills.
  • Helps in reducing secondary behaviors.
  • Helps to reduce severity of the disorder.
  • Improves child’s speech and language skills.
  • Helps in listening to different voices.
  • Helps to know different types of emotions. (Happy, Sad, Anger, Pain, etc,)
  • Helps parents to know completely regarding the disorder.

Speech Chain :

Speech chain describes the stages that take place while communication or conversation is carried out. In speech chain, exchange of message moves between the mind of the speaker and the mind of the listener. The message spoken by the speaker is communicated by using articulatory structures to produce. Sound is collected by the listener through auditory mechanism into a neural signals that is interpreted to extract the meaning of the utterance and the intention of the communication act.

What is Auditory Verbal Therapy?

Auditory-Verbal Therapy is exclusively given for hearing impaired children to learn how to speak and understand speech, provided by a hearing aid or a cochlear implant

There are four stages in AVT

I. Awareness
II. Discrimination
III. Identification
IV. Comprehension
Stages are interconnected with each other. Goals are taken according to the stages. After completing one stage then later on next stages are taught.

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