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Speech Therapy

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Speech therapy is a vital treatment for speech problems in children. Read the article to know more about speech therapy.

Written by

Dr. Lochana .k

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Satyabrata Panigrahi

Published At March 1, 2022
Reviewed AtMarch 2, 2023

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.

  • Fluency Disorders: A fluency disorder is a disorder that affects the flow, rate, speed, and rhythm of a person's speech. Stuttering and cluttering come under the category of fluency disorders. A person affected by stuttering will have trouble bringing out a specific sound in their mind. They may also have a speech issue that feels like blocked or interrupted speech. The person will be frequently noted to repeat part of a word, or the word itself will be seen in repetitive patterns. A person with a cluttering disorder will be emphasized to usually speak very fast, running sentences and merging multiple words.

  • 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.

  • The other disorders that would need speech therapy are a group of cognitive-communicative disorders and aphasia.

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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Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Procedure Performed in Speech Therapy?

Speech therapy is a procedure that helps in improving an individual’s speech and language skills. It helps children with developmental delays and adults who have speech impairments due to trauma or illness. A speech therapist or speech-language pathologist diagnoses and treats speaking difficulties.


Which Age Is Accurate for Speech Therapy?

In children's speech therapy, cases start after 24 months of age, and by this age, children start to string a few words. However, the most common age group where it is advised to start speech therapy is 48 months and above, as it becomes easy to detect when a child is not able to form words easily. 


What Are Some of the Common Speech Techniques and Exercises That Can Also Be Performed at Home?

Some of the techniques that can also be practiced at home include:
- A speech therapist gives a couple of exercises, such as memory-checking puzzles.
- Problem-solving activities.
- Reducing screen time.
- Reading to the child.
- Phonological processing (speech sound patterns).
- Sticking tongue out, hold it for two seconds, and bring it back. 
- Puckering lips and then relaxing them helps in mouth movements.


What Are Certain Vitamins That Help With Speech Delay?

There is no specific vitamin that directly affects speech delay. However, there are some vitamins and nutrients that play an essential role in brain development and function, which can indirectly impact speech development. Vitamin E, vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin), and vitamin D improve delayed speech in many cases.


What Food Supplements Are Good for Speech Delay?

Some of the food supplements that help in improving an individual’s speech include:
- Nuts like almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E.
- Seeds like chia, flex, and pumpkin seeds.
- Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Ashwagandha.
- Brahmi.
- Cocoa powder.


Is It Possible To Do Speech Therapy at Home?

Speech therapy is usually provided by trained professionals in a clinical set-up, there are activities and exercises that can be performed at home to support speech and language development. Speech therapy can be easily performed at home. A speech therapist explains to the child's patients the exercises and how frequently they need to be done in a day. 


How Is Speech Improved Through Activities?

- After the age of 48 months and till two years of age, words like da, ba, and ma should be encouraged for the child to repeat. 
- Teaching the child how to clap and point out the shapes and colors.
- Children from two to four years of age speak in a clear language.
- Children from four to six years old praise the child after they tell something.


What Are the Roles of Tongue Twisters in Improving?

Tongue twister helps in clearing the speech in children in a fun way. Tongue twisters are challenging word exercises that involve repeating a sequence of syllables,  similar sounds, or words. While they may seem like playful linguistic games, tongue twisters serve various roles in improving speech and language skills.


At What Age Is It Considered To Be a Speech Delay?

If a child does not speak or cannot speak, has trouble imitating sounds, and does sound gestures like clapping by the age of two years is a sign of speech delay. Speech and language development can differ widely among children, and there is a range of what is considered normal. However, certain milestones might give a general guideline for typical speech and language development.


Is Speech Delay a Common Condition?

Speech delay is commonly seen in children, and many children may experience a temporary delay in their speech and language development. It is essential to recognize that there is a wide range of normal development, and children progress at different rates. Some children may start speaking later than others but catch up within the typical developmental time frame.


Is Speech Delay Cured?

Performing exercises like tongue movements, tongue twisters, and other exercises given by speech therapists helps cure it permanently. Speech delay is usually treatable, particularly with early intervention and adequate speech therapy. Treatment success depends on several factors, like the severity of the delay, the underlying cause, and the individual child's response to therapy.
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Dr. Lochana .k
Dr. Lochana .k



speech therapy
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