Speech therapy is an umbrella term that has many applications. Therapists will often specialize in one or two types of therapy as they progress in their careers. Although most speech therapists can evaluate or diagnose a speech disorder, most likely they will recommend the patient to a more qualified expert in the type of disorder. Below are a couple of types of speech therapy for different speech disorders.
For Late Talkers
Speech therapy for children who talk late is generally used for infants and toddlers who are not meeting their language development milestones. In such a case, the therapist will try various methods to encourage them to talk which includes playing with them. Sometimes, they might withhold a favorite toy or a favorite snack until the child asks for it verbally which helps to motivate them to talk and express what they want. For other children, different types of the communication might be used such as sign language and picture cards.
For Kids with Apraxia
Children who suffer from apraxia might have trouble saying certain syllables or making certain sounds. They know what it is they want but they have difficulty saying it out loud. Therapists can evaluate a child if they have apraxia by using tests such as:
- oral-motor assessment to see if there is any muscle weakness in the mouth, lips, throat, or jaw
- speech sound assessment to determine how well they can pronounce sounds like vowels and consonants, as well as sound combinations
- melody of speech assessment where a therapist will listen if the child can apply the appropriate stress in certain syllables
A child with apraxia might need to have one-on-one therapy sessions a couple of times per week. The therapy will most likely involve intensive practice for their speech. The therapist can also help the child better understand auditory feedback as well as visual cues. One way this is done is by asking the child to look themselves in a mirror while they speak. It’s also possible to record while they are speaking and playing it back to them.
Stuttering is a common speech impediment during childhood but it can also develop in adults. Most stuttering issues are rooted in behavioral problems. A therapist can try to teach the child with a stutter some behavioral modification exercises to help them control their stutter. One such way is to help them control their rate of speech since most children who stutter speak too quickly. Through online speech therapy, therapists can also help children who stutter proper breathing techniques to better manage the pace of their speech.
Aphasia is a condition that arises from damage to the structure of the brain which results in difficulty in speech. It can affect how a person listens, reads, and writes. In adults, aphasia can happen as a result of a stroke. Speech therapists have a vital role to play in diagnosing and intervention for people with aphasia. Therapists can recommend drills to improve speech. Group therapy can be helpful to improve conversational skills. Gestures can also provide supplemental communication skills to make others understand them better.
For Difficulty Swallowing
The muscles that are used for speaking are also the ones that help us to swallow. So in people with problems in speech, they might also have problems swallowing. Helping someone with difficulty swallowing can also fall on the shoulders of speech therapists. They might recommend several drills in order to make their oral muscles stronger. They can help improve the range of motion of the tongue since it helps aid in swallowing. And they can also recommend changing the consistency of the food to make swallowing a lot easier.
Special thanks to our guest blogger, Lily Brooks! Lily Brooks loves to write about personality development, mental and physical disabilities, and ways to overcome them effectively. She is currently working with Verboso, which offers online speech therapy for children to improve their speaking skills.