What is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is a treatment that helps in improving communication skills also known as speech-language therapy.
People assume or think that speech therapy is mostly for children with speech disorders that affect pronunciation when they are speaking but it also helps children who have difficulty with spoken and written language. Speech-language therapy also includes those with language disorders and reading challenges such as dyslexia.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SPEECH THERAPY
Ques) Why is my child having difficulty learning to talk?
Ans) A child with a delay in speech can be due to several reasons and delay in speech is not seen externally because the child looks absolutely fine physically. Delay in speech is noticed by the parents and the caregivers when they notice they are not able to express themselves. Sometimes a delay may be caused due to hearing loss. Many times it may be due to developmental issues which are noticed when they are not able to perform normally in day-to-day activities. Children might have speech disorders because they have difficulty making speech sounds. The child may hesitate or stutter when talking. Children who have language issues have difficulty in sharing thoughts and expressing themselves.
Ques) How much child’s speech and language should develop by 2 years of age?
Ans) Below is the milestone list child should develop by 2 years of age:
Speech and Language milestones
|3- 6 Months
|6 – 9 Months
|9 -12 Months
Ques) How do I know if my child needs just an evaluation or speech therapy services.
Ans) Parents should consider an evaluation if the child has not started saying at least one meaningful word by 12 months, the child is not using gestures like waving bye-bye or pointing towards the desired object, by 18 months if the child prefers using gestures over vocalizations while communicating, by 18 months the child has trouble imitating sounds. Parents should consult a pediatrician if the above-mentioned milestones have not developed and see if the child needs any assessment for speech and language.
Once the evaluation is done parents would get clarity about child’s speech and language skills are age-appropriate or has a delay. If any delay is observed detailed examination should be carried out and required intervention should start as soon as possible.
One can confirm if speech and language therapy is needed or not only after the evaluation is done. Evaluation gives clarity about the child’s receptive language and expressive language age, one can figure out from which level to start the therapy for the child.
Ques) How many speech therapy sessions do my child need to improve his/her speaking skills?
Ans) Once the child is being assessed and a detailed evaluation is carried out a therapist would be able to establish the baseline of the child. The assessment of receptive language and expressive language age gives clarity on how many sessions would be required weekly. But it is difficult to say how much time it would take to see progress in an individual because every child is different in grasping a concept.
If the severity is more it is suggested to start intensive therapy, where the child is recommended to attend four to five days’ sessions in a week for 30 minutes to 45 minutes per session in the initial few months, then slowly as the child settles down the number of days can be reduced and child should be monitored if goals are getting achieved.
Ques) What are the areas to be taken care of during speech-language therapy and what else should we do other than speech and language intervention for a better outcome?
Ans) Speech-language disorders treatment does not mean medical intervention. It is rehabilitation, counseling, or behavior modification.
SLPs offer treatment for a variety of speech & language disorders. Highlights of the intervention are:
- Treatment is based on the scientific and systematic approach.
- Treatment is customized to suit patients’ specific needs (according to their behaviors and child’s assessment results.)
- Along with speech and language intervention if the involvement of other professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, special educators, psychologists, etc.is needed in the treatment process they are recommended.
- Regular monitoring is done to assess the efficacy of the treatment.