What is speech therapy?
Speech therapy aims to assist children and people with special needs to tackle challenges with communication and language. It can help people improve their social, verbal, and non-verbal communication skills. Challenges of communication and speech vary from person to person. There are some who are unable to speak at all, while there are others who enjoy talking, but are unable to sustain conversations and perceive body language, facial expressions, and gestures.
The procedure of speech therapy
After autism is diagnosed, speech therapists conclude the best possible ways to improve the communication skills of the patient and improve their quality of life. In the therapy sessions, the therapist works closely not with just the patient, but also with the family and school of the same.
A speech evaluation by a speech-language pathologist performed to diagnose the challenges faced by the patient. After the assessment, an individual therapy plan is formulated for the patient. Mostly, it includes activities and therapy sessions to work on nonverbal skills like gestures, body language, and signs using technology and pictures, along with spoken language.
Speech-language pathologists are specialists who treat people with special needs in speech and language disorders and one of the most important components of speech therapy. Once a proper diagnosis is made, customized speech therapy is formulated which may include the following.
- Sign and gestures
- Electronic “talkers”
- Picture boards
- Use of sounds for patients who are expressive to speech sounds.
- Improving articulation by facial and lip muscle exercises.
- Singing songs to match the flow of sentences and rhythm.
How does speech therapy work?
Speech therapy is highly effective in improving the overall communication skills of challenged people. It makes it possible for people with special needs to communicate and converse with people around them effectively and clearly. Some benefits of speech therapy are listed as follows.
- Development of conversational skills
- Efficient exchange of ideas
- Enjoying communicating, talking, and interacting with people around
- Improved self-confidence and regulation
- Better pronunciation and articulation.
- Improved communication both verbally and nonverbally
- A better comprehension of verbal and nonverbal communication
- Improved understanding of intentions
- Initiate communication without prompting from others
- Understanding the appropriate time and place to communicate specific things
When should one start speech therapy?
It is best to start speech therapy as soon as symptoms of challenges in communication are seen. In most cases, autism makes itself noticeable at the age of three to five years. However, problems with language and speech can be noticed as early as 18 months. It is crucial to see a speech-language pathologist as soon as problems are noticed in the child’s speech. By doing so, you can enable an early assessment of the condition which can help the pathologist to determine what challenges are faced by the child, and what is the extent of the condition. The help of intense, customized, and individual treatment can help in reducing the isolation that can root from problems with communication.
It can be concluded that speech therapy is one of the most effective ways to help children tackle communication challenges, and it is best to start speech therapy as early as possible. It would be wrong to assume that challenges and problems with speech cannot be improved. With the help of proper early diagnosis and intervention, a therapist, and cooperation from the family and peers of the child, problems with speech and language can be solved for good.