Ability of effective communication is crucial for gaining following skills, such as reading, writing and creating interpersonal contacts. Language is the most important tool which enables us to discover and understand the word. Speech development disorders are often symptoms of general development disorders and therefore they should not be ignored.
Fluent speaking ability influences social reception and it is recommended to eliminate anomalies as they are likely to be cause of embarrassment to a child.
For speech and language therapy I especially invite:
- children who want to improve their linguistic and elocution skills
- children with articulation disorders and delays (trouble shaping sounds correctly)
- bilingual children whose language acquisitional ability is a point of concern for their parents
- children with special language impairment
- children who stammer or are non-fluent
- children with language disorders and delays
- children with impaired development, who have oral motor difficulties (connected with feeding, swallowing, reflex development, breathing, salivation)
- children with speech and language difficulties coming as a result of genetic syndromes (ec. Down Syndrome), cerebral palsy, autism, Asperger's Syndrome
- children with anatomical defects (cleft lip or palate, as a result of accidents or surgical procedure)
- children who are unable to use verbal communication
Speech and language assessment needs an interview to verify speech development and general development issues or an analysis of medical history and treatment (if needed). The next step is observation of the child's communication strategies, language skills, speech quality and the usage of a proper diagnosis test. I take the comprehension level, vocabulary, use of grammar structures and work of oral-motor muscles into consideration. As for younger children the assessment and therapy is more play-based. Additionally, speech therapist can refer a patient to for further or specialized examination and discuss available therapies that may be suitable.
It is recommended to meet a speech and language specialist not only for regular therapy, but also to convey any doubts or concerns in relation to speech, language and oral motor functions. Single consultations can be helpful for patients and their family to understand and learn how to cope with speech and language disorders.
The program of therapy is tailored for each patient, taking speech and language disorders, age as well as preferable forms of work into consideration. Professional educational aids, multimedia programs as well as self - made teaching aids and everyday objects are used for speech therapy. Each session is aimed at helping to improve speech and language skills of a child (make it more clear, help to shape different sounds correctly or support language development – active and passive) as well as to offer learning time organized in play-based atmosphere. Parents are welcome to take part in sessions for learning treatment strategies and supporting therapy effects. Recording therapy session is also possible. This may be useful for progress analysis and learning how to continue work with patient at home.
Both time and cost parents spent on therapy are always respected, and I would never suggest unnecessarily long or expensive sessions.
Speech therapy does work and can help to avoid child's difficulties with writing, reading and learning. It is better not to await improvement which may not come automatically and may turn out to be easy to eliminate with few speech therapy sessions. In case you have doubts whether your child's speech is correct, I highly recommend you ask for
a professional opinion to confirm the need of speech therapist intervention or to confirm that your child's speech is improving according to natural rules of development.