How Does Speech Therapy Work?
March 20, 2023 by Kelsey Wagner
Speech and language disorders are a common occurrence in children and adults. Around 5 to 10% of Americans might have a communication disorder. Noticeable speech disorders will start to appear in children by the time they reach the first grade.
There are many treatment options if you or your loved one is dealing with a communication problem. Speech therapy is a treatment solution that supports people who have these problems. However, you might be asking yourself, “how does speech therapy work?”
This guide will discuss everything you need to know about speech therapy. We’ll talk about how this approach can treat the different issues that arise in adults and children.
What Is Speech Therapy?
There are a few reasons why a speech disorder might develop. They can arise due to:
- Muscular paralysis
- Injuries to nerves in the brain
- Developmental disabilities
- Structural abnormalities
Speech therapy is effective for treating communication and speech disorders. During treatment appointments, a speech therapist works with the person with a speech impediment. A speech therapist is a healthcare professional that’s received training for evaluating and treating those with swallowing, language, and speech disorders.
How Does Speech Therapy Work?
The speech therapist starts treatment by evaluating the individual. They’ll determine what types of communication disorders the person is suffering from. They can also decide what types of therapy to incorporate into their treatment plan.
Speech Therapy for Kids
Children can participate in speech therapy in a one-on-one setting. They can also be in a classroom with a small group of kids. This decision depends on the severity of their speech disorder.
The speech therapist will utilize different activities and exercises so they can overcome their issues.
Articulation activities involve the speech therapist working with the child to assist them with their pronunciations. Their therapist will show them how to make specific sounds. They’ll typically incorporate play activities for this area of focus.
Talking and playing with the child are the main parts of language activities. The speech therapist will use the following types of props:
These items are used to stimulate their language development. The therapist might also use repetition exercises and demonstrate correct pronunciation. These tactics help increase children’s language skills.
Swallowing and Feeding Therapy
Speech therapists can help kids that have swallowing or chewing problems. They can also incorporate oral exercises into their therapy appointments.
These exercises can strengthen the muscles of the mouth. They might also work with various food textures to improve their oral awareness.
A speech therapist could use other exercises to strengthen the muscles around the child’s mouth. These exercises can be used even if the child doesn’t have problems swallowing or chewing. They’ll use the following types of exercises:
- Facial massage
- Jaw, lip, and tongue exercises
The speech therapist will also assign homework and strategies to the child. They can work through various activities with their caregiver or parent.
Speech Therapy for Adults
A speech therapist will implement different techniques for adult speech therapy. Some of the most common ones include:
- Breathing exercises
- Social communication
- Cognitive training
- Swallowing exercises
The goals of speech therapy for adults are the same as those for children. The techniques used are different. Speech therapists don’t have to use as many play-based tactics when working with adults.
For example, speech therapists use memory activities, problem-solving, and conversation exercises to help adults.
What Can Speech Therapy Help?
Speech therapy helps with a few different types of speech disorders. Let’s discuss some of the most common ones.
Aphasia is a disorder that occurs when a person has difficulties with speech or language. Stroke is one of the leading causes of aphasia. That’s because strokes can damage the parts of your brain that are responsible for speaking.
People with aphasia can lose their ability to understand and express language. They might also have trouble writing or reading.
Stuttering is a disorder that’s characterized by the repetition of:
Someone with a stutter might prolong or repeat phrases, syllables, or words. They know what they want to communicate but find it challenging to speak naturally or clearly. Another term for a stutter is a stammer.
Specific Language Impairment
A specific language impairment is a disorder where children have trouble developing language skills. This condition isn’t linked to an intellectual, sensory, or neurological disability.
Specific language impairment can affect the way a child:
It’s a common speech disorder in children. One in 14 kindergarteners is affected by it.
This speech disorder can follow a child into adulthood. Speech therapy is effective at improving these problems and helping them navigate their work and social life.
Articulation disorder is when a person has difficulties producing sounds. These sounds typically involve a body part, such as their:
- Respiratory system
Those with articulation disorders might pronounce the word “rabbit” like “wabbit.” Someone with a phonological disorder can correctly make these sounds but use them in the wrong part of the word.
Other Methods to Use With Speech Therapy
There are alternatives to explore but many therapists utilize these tactics in conjunction with speech therapy. Each method is effective at helping a person overcome their disorder.
Music therapy includes music-led activities. The therapist uses music to strengthen a person or child’s social, communication, and language skills.
During neurofeedback treatment, sensors get attached to the person’s scalp. The sensors record their brainwave activity.
Doctors view their brainwave activity on a screen. Individuals can learn to control how their brain functions as they communicate.
Explore the Benefits of Speech Therapy
We hope we’ve answered the question “how does speech therapy work?” Whether you or your child is suffering from a speech disorder, speech therapy is an effective tool in helping overcome these issues. Don’t be discouraged if you have difficulties speaking, no matter how old you are.
Kintinu Telerehab is here to guide you through the process. We offer in-person and virtual speech therapy sessions. Get in touch with us to learn more.