All About Speech Therapy
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
Speech therapy provides intervention for children with speech rhythm and fluency problems. These include articulation disorder or stuttering, issues with understanding and producing language, as well as cognitive communication impairments, such as attention, memory and problem-solving disorders.
These sessions are conducted by speech therapists, or speech-language pathologists, who are professionals educated in the study of human communication, its development and disorders. They work with people who cannot produce speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly.
Speech therapists also provide intervention for people with other oral-motor challenges, such as difficulties swallowing or chewing.
What Happens During My Child’s First Visit to the Speech Therapist?
Your child’s first visit to the speech therapist is his/her initial assessment. The aim of this visit is for the therapist to get the best picture of what could be influencing their speech development and to find out the challenges that your child is currently facing.
Conducting formal assessments at MindChamps Allied Care is done when necessary. Most commonly, an informal or play based assessment will be carried out for the child’s first visit at the clinic. During this time, the therapist’s aim is to learn how your child communicates and expresses their needs in real life situations, as well as to have an accurate measure of their language ability.
Speech therapists use two methods to conduct an evaluation of your child’s speech ability. First is indirect testing, which takes the form of informal play and conversation. Second is direct testing, a more structured form of testing which is done with the aid of a standardised testing manual.
What Happens During Speech Therapy Sessions?
Speech therapy at MindChamps Allied Care is conducted by the speech therapist in a one-to-one session with the child.
It is important to note that no two speech therapies are exactly alike. Each therapy and lesson is tailored to meet the child’s needs and their particular speech disorder. Thus, each intervention is specifically designed to work towards the child’s individual learning goals.
Below is a sample of the types of activities a typical therapy session would consist of:
Playing, talking, using pictures, books and events around the child to stimulate language development.
During this process, the therapist models correct pronunciation, using repetition exercises to build speech and language skills.
Sound production exercises involve having the therapist model correct sounds and syllables for your child, often during play activities.
The therapist will help the child with particular sounds that he/she finds difficult to pronounce, demonstrating themselves, or using a mirror to help the child learn.
Oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy:
Speech therapists use a variety of different oral exercises to strengthen the muscles of the mouth which includes the tongue, lip, jaw and cheek muscles.
Speech therapists may also work with different food textures and temperatures to train a child’s oral awareness during eating and swallowing.
Recommendations and Parent Follow-up
At the end of each session, the speech therapist will review what has happened during the lesson with the parents.
Through sharing their professional expertise with the parents, they can make recommendations as to how to encourage speech development at home and for teachers at school.
Additionally, most lessons will end with follow up homework for parents to do with children at home, set with the intent of further building on the speech skills and competencies learnt by the child within the therapy session.
The most important thing to remember about speech therapy is that early intervention is key!