Does my child need speech therapy?

We have all been in a position where it becomes difficult to get our point across. Whether this happened to you today, last week, or a few years ago, we have stumbled with this. Most often, we get extremely frustrated by not being able to get our point across. Somehow, our line of communication faded and the point we were originally trying to make didn’t make it across. That can be pretty frustrating. However, we didn’t need any speech therapy technique for this, it is just semi-common parts of life for us.

For many kids and adults though, the difficulty is in speaking to get their points across clearly every day. It usually is not the kids tripping over words either like it was in our example. Instead, it is usually difficulties with the speaking part of communication instead of communication as a whole. In these types of situations, it is usually the case that a speech therapist would be needed. We will outline what speech therapy is as well as speech therapy techniques for your child.


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What is Speech Therapy?

Speech Therapy is a type of therapy that works with both children as well as adults who struggle with speech and language. Speech therapy techniques are used to help these individuals be able to communicate more clearly. It is training them how to properly communicate what they want to no matter what type of issues they may be having.

What does a Speech Therapist Do?

A Speech Therapist works with a wide array of defects and issues. Most of these issues have to do with muscles used for speech and swallowing. By using speech therapy techniques to correct some of the struggles, many children outgrow the need for future speech therapy.

What Areas Does a Speech Therapist Specialize in? Speech Therapy Techniques

Depending on your child’s needs the Speech Therapist can focus on articulation, fluency, resonance, speech disorders and swallowing. Any and all of these can be worked on individually or together.

Articulation

Articulation is the clarity and sounds of speech. This area can be of concern if your child struggles to make certain sounds, pronounce words or if you notice a stutter. Many people may notice that their child has a lisp that is noticeable when he or she goes to say the letter “s”. Other parents may notice that their child cannot say specific letters such as “r’s” or “l’s”. This would all fall under articulation which could be solved with speech therapy techniques.

Fluency

Fluency is the ability to easily express oneself efficiently. If your child struggles to get their ideas across easily, the speech therapist will use this area as a focus area.

Resonance

Resonance is the quality of sound that is made when we speak. Typically our sound is full, deep and reverberating. If your child doesn’t have a full sound while they are speaking this will be an area that is focused on. The Speech Therapist will be able to identify if this is an area of need for your child.

Swallowing

The same muscles that we use to talk are the same muscles our mouth uses to swallow. If swallowing certain foods or even saliva is an issue a speech therapist will help to strengthen the needed muscles.

Some Things Are Okay

Depending on your child’s age, some struggles to say certain sounds or words can be normal. Our mouth and tongue muscles take some time to fully develop. Due to this, it can be difficult until a certain point to make the proper noises and sounds that are needed to say letters and their sounds.

What Do I Do if I Suspect My Child has a Delay?

If you suspect that your child has a delay in any or all of these areas, it is best that you bring it up. Speech and swallowing delays get harder to correct the longer they are left alone. The best place to start would be to bring up your concerns with their pediatrician. Pediatricians can take a quick look and then make a referral to a speech therapist in order to get an evaluation.

How Can I Use Speech Therapy Techniques to Help at Home?

There are many things you can do at home if you suspect your child has a delay or even just struggles with certain sounds. It starts at home, and even with speech therapy, a lot of it is still dealt with and solved within the home. Many speech therapists will give you guidance for the week, or certain exercises to go through the week with. Here are some things you can do at home.

Speech

First, try to slow down your own speech when you talk to your child is beneficial for them. It allows your child to better hear the individual sounds that go into making each word.

You can also exaggerate annunciating the struggling sounds. It works best if you pick one sound to focus on. Have your child watch your mouth as you say the sound and then, have them repeat it. Next, try saying the whole word (with the exaggerated sound) and again have your child repeat it. If there is more than one sound, you can rotate weeks or rotate days. Your child may be overwhelmed, so breaking it down into different days helps your child be able to attack one problem at a time and find a solution for it.

The most important thing is to be sure to not make a huge deal out of it. Praise for any effort given by your child is very important.

Swallowing

As far as swallowing goes, I would highly suggest if this is an issue not to try to help at home. This is best to seek help from the doctor and a speech therapist.  Stick to foods you know your child is okay eating in the meantime.

Speech Therapy helps best if it is started early so never feel bad for reaching out to your child’s doctor. If therapy is needed, partner with your Speech Therapist and your child will go miles!

Is a speech therapist not what you are looking for? Look here for what an occupational therapist is.

   

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