Speech and language therapy

Being able to talk is vital for learning and understanding the world around and for making friends. Babies learn words before they can start to talk. Some children find it hard to learn the meaning of words or struggle to use words or make sentences. Others may use long meaningless sentences. These are signs that the children may need some extra help.

Speech Language pathology:
A speech pathology refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas. Speech problems include: speech difficulties in producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly; Fluency disorders, in which the flow of speech is interrupted; Resonance or voice disorders; Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders. Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive.

Speech and language therapy is concerned with the management of disorders of speech, language, and communication and swallowing in children and adults. Speech and language therapists are allied health professionals, who work closely with parents and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists. Speech-Language Pathologists specialize in communication disorders as well as swallowing disorders. They provide a wide range of services, mainly on an individual basis, but also as support for families, support groups, and providing information for the general public. Speech doctors collaborate with a multidisciplinary team, providing referrals to audiologists and others; providing information to health care professionals, educators, and parents as dictated by the individual's needs. The speech therapist assesses and treats speech, language and communication problems in people of all ages to enable them to communicate to the best of their ability.

Speech therapy treatment services starts initial screening for communication and swallowing disorders and followed with the assessment and diagnosis, consultation for the provision of advice regarding management, intervention and treatment, and provision counseling and other follow up services for these disorders. The speech therapy outcome is more satisfactory than the surgical treatment in patients with cleft lip and palate.

Swallowing assessments require specialized training. These include instrumental evaluations, such as Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing or Modified Barium Swallow Study. Oral motor assessments review the strength, co-ordination, range of movement, symmetry and speed of cranial nerves V, VII, IX, X and XII.

Therapists use a variety of strategies:
  • Language intervention activities: The SLP will interact with a child to stimulate speech and language development.
  • Articulation therapy: Speech exercises involve correcting the sounds and syllables for a child, often during play activities.
  • Oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy: Oral exercises including facial massage and various tongue, lip, and jaw exercises strengthen the muscles of the mouth.

1.For Adults

There are separate standardized assessment tools administered for infants, school-aged children, adolescents and adults. Adults may experience speech and language difficulties for a variety of reasons. Speech Disorders include: Speech apraxia, Dysarthria, Stuttering Voice, speech impediment; Language Disorders include: Aphasia.

Interventions including compensatory strategies for the affected person or their partner, are individually created for that person in their particular circumstances. The service has a major role in clinical education and inter-professional learning in. It is actively involved in research and development and provides a broad range of training regarding communication and swallowing to partner agencies and colleagues. The speech therapists work closely with other health and social care professionals as effective communication and nutrition are central to all aspects of well being and successful recovery of function.

2.For Children

Communication skills are crucial for intellectual, educational, social and emotional development. Some children are eligible to receive speech therapy for children services, including assessment and lessons through the public school system. Private therapy is also available through personal lessons with a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist or the telepractice. Combination treatments are readily available to address specific types of articulation disorders. The use of mobile applications in speech therapy is also growing. Parental involvement is also crucial to the success of a child's progress in speech or language therapy. The therapist analyse the child's difficulties and the impact of those on his/her life. They also work with children and young people who have difficulty with eating, drinking and/or swallowing. The services include; Training and advice for parents/carers, programmes ways of supporting the child in different environments and by different people, assessment and provision of communication aids and resources, involvement with educational and transition planning, direct therapy with child individually or in a group.
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