What Is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is one of the treatment modalities that is used for the assessment of language-related pathologies. It serves as one of the most fundamental ways to treat communication issues and speech disorders. It is usually done by a medical professional called a speech-language pathologist (SLP). They are commonly addressed as speech therapists.
Speech therapy techniques are beneficial in the improvement of communication disorders. There are various branches under the umbrella term, speech therapy. These include articulation therapy, language intervention activities, and other activities that mainly depend on the type of speech or language disorders that have been diagnosed clinically. Speech therapy might be needed primarily to treat speech disorders prone to develop during childhood or speech impairments that happen during adulthood caused by any injuries or illnesses, such as a stroke or brain damage by a tumor, etc.
What Are the Disorders That Require Speech Therapy?
Many known speech and language disorders can be treated using various types of speech therapies. Those are as follows:
Articulation Disorders: An articulation disorder is a person's inability to pronounce some sounds of a particular word correctly. A child with this kind of speech disorder may swap sounds, distort, or add specific terms and pronunciation.
Resonance Disorders: A resonance disorder is a disorder that occurs when there is a regular air passage blockage through the nasal and oral cavities. It might also be caused when the velopharyngeal valve does not properly close in situ. The nasal and oral cavities are responsible for altering the vibrations, specifically accountable for voice quality in humans. It might also be caused when the velopharyngeal valve does not properly close in situ. Resonance disorders are more frequently seen in babies with cleft palates, adults with any neurological disorders, or when there is swelling in the tonsils.
Receptive Disorders: A person affected with a sensory language disorder can have trouble understanding and processing the sentences said by other ordinary people around them. This can lead the person not to show interest in developing or hearing communication with others. They might also have trouble following any directions given to them. Also, they have a limited vocabulary. Other language disorders such as autism, hearing loss of any etiology, and head trauma can also cause a receptive language disorder.
Expressive Disorders: An expressive language disorder is a difficulty a person experiences in conveying and expressing information they want to say. If a person has an expressive disorder, they might have trouble forming correct sentences. For example, they might use incorrect verbs or tenses. It is usually associated with many congenital developmental impairments, like Down's syndrome and genetic hearing deficits. It might also be due to any head injuries or stroke-like conditions during adulthood.
Dysarthria: People affected by this condition are noted to have symptoms like slow or slurred speech, which is mainly due to a weakness or an inability to control the muscles used in the formation of speech. It is usually caused due to pathologies of the nervous system that lead to defects like facial paralysis or throat and tongue weakness, like multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and stroke.
How Is Speech Therapy Practiced in Children?
In children, during speech therapy, the speech-language pathologist will interact with the child through activities like talking, playing, and using books, pictures, and other objects as a part of language evaluation and treatment to help stimulate language development in those children.
A model of the correct sounds and syllables to a child should be taught during play to educate the kid about making specific sounds. The speech therapy will provide varied strategies in proper speech formation and homework to train the child. The parents and the caregivers will be taught to give speech therapy to the children in a home setup.
How Is Speech Therapy Practiced in Adults?
Speech therapy for adults initially begins with a careful and detailed assessment to determine the patient's needs. Speech therapy exercises for adults are focused on helping them with speech formation language difficulties and creating ease in cognitive-communication. Therapy may focus on retraining independent swallowing function if there is a history of injury or medical issues, like Parkinson's disorder or any oral cancer that causes swallowing difficulties.
Exercises that are done during the therapy involves:
Problem-solving activities, memory checking puzzles, organization ability by improving activities, and others would enhance cognitive-communication.
Conversational tips to enhance social communication skills.
Breathing exercises for resonance speech improvement.
Exercises to increase strength to the oral muscles.
What Is the Prognosis for Speech Therapy?
The success rate of improvement in speech disorders depends on speech therapy. It varies widely between the type of underlying disorder that needs treatment and the age groups in which speech therapy is used. The onset of starting speech therapy once the speech disorder is not diagnosed can also influence the prognosis. Speech therapy for young children has been very successful, especially when it starts early. The prognosis further increases when the treatment is practiced at home, with the help of a parent or caregiver.
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