What is Speech Therapy?
Many conditions, including cerebral palsy, autism, hearing loss and development delays may cause difficulty with speech and language development. Some children may not understand language. Some children may understand language but are unable to communicate effectively due to difficulty with speech. Other times, children experience challenges in other areas of communication, such as hand gestures and facial expressions.
Speech therapy is a clinical program aimed at improving speech and language skills and oral motor abilities. Children who are able to talk may work on making their speech clearer, building their language skills by learning to speak in sentences, or improving their listening skills. Children who cannot talk may learn sign language, or how to use special equipment such as a computer that speaks for them. Children who talk but have challenges with more discreet communication issues such as facial expression or gestural language use, may work on these areas as well.
If a child exhibits any of the following "red flags," they may qualify for Speech Therapy services:
Receptive language delay-difficulty to understand or process language. Expressive language delay-difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.
Difficulty producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly
Problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions, or prolonging sounds and syllables
Resonance or Voice Disorders
Problems with pitch, volume, or quality of voice that distract listeners from what's being said
Swallowing/ feeding disorders
These include difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing