Everything You Need to Know About Speech Therapy
Speech therapy helps alleviate difficulties associated with speaking, language, and swallowing. This therapy can teach your child to find the right combination of muscles to form specific sounds. This will make their speech more intelligible to others and help them to better communicate. Speech therapy helps patients learn to express themselves and breaks down complicated areas of language into smaller parts that are easier to understand. This is crucial for the patients recovering from stroke or brain injury, as it will help them learn how to speak and swallow normally.
A person who practices speech therapy is known as a speech therapist or speech-language pathologist, SLP for short. If you live in a big city like Los Angeles speech therapy is easy to find. Even if you live in a smaller town, check the internet for listings of trained SLPs near you.
Understanding Speech Therapy
Now that you know what speech therapy is, let’s look at its benefits. Speech therapy can help people with conditions such as:
Language and communication difficulties
The main concern here is to improve how children respond in a social setting, allowing them to better express thoughts and grasp language concepts.
This involves helping the child use their voice fully without straining, and teaching them how to make the correct sounds.
Feeding and swallowing issues
This addresses difficulty swallowing or eating by training the throat and mouth muscles.
While some parents may find it difficult to find the right speech therapist for your child, there are many available. It’s important to search around to find someone that both you and your child are comfortable with. If you’re looking for speech therapy in Los Angeles, Speak Live Play is a great option as Melissa Peters, M.S. is trained in both speech and feeding therapy.
Potential Downsides of Speech Therapy
Before you decide to seek out speech therapy for your child, consider these factors:
Speech therapy can be expensive, especially if it isn’t covered by your health insurance plan. If you believe your child needs speech therapy, have them evaluated by a pediatrician. Getting a prescription or recommendation from a medical doctor can qualify the therapy to be covered by health insurance. If you can’t afford speech therapy for your child, search the internet for possible assistance, or therapists offering the service on a sliding scale cost basis. Speech therapy may also be available at your child’s school for free.
This therapy can be time-consuming when you account for the appointments and practicing what was learned in therapy. However, as a parent, it’s important to dedicate this time to help your child with their speech difficulties at an early age. Talk to your child’s speech therapist about working around your schedule to ensure your child gets the help they need.
Advantages of Speech Therapy
Speech therapy helps improve communication skills, which will help your child relate more easily to others and express their thoughts and needs accurately. This can help your child do well in school and will lead to lifelong communication skills that continue to benefit them as an adult.
Benefits of speech therapy include:
- Makes daily tasks easier, especially those involving communication.
- Helps stroke and brain injury survivors re-learn how to swallow properly.
- Teaches alternative communication methods to people who are unable to speak.
- Builds self-confidence, thus improving school or work performance.
- Helps heal injured or over-exerted vocal cords.
Preparing for Speech Therapy
The following tips will help you prepare for speech therapy:
- Give the therapist access to medical records detailing you or your child’s speech problems.
- Describe your problem, and ask any questions you’d like answered.
- If you are taking your child to speech therapy, describe all of the problems you have witnessed to the therapist.
- Have an open mind and be ready to learn and perform all the work that will help you or your child recover.
- Check your insurances coverage of speech therapy. If it’s not already covered, check to see if a prescription from a medical doctor can help.
How Does Speech Therapy Work?
At first, the patient will usually see the therapist one on one for a period of not less than 7 days. Thereafter the therapist will recommend various treatment techniques, which may include:
- If the patient is unable to speak, they will learn alternative communication techniques. These involve finger spelling, picture communication, and speech devices.
- Improving patient memory.
- Teaching new breathing techniques to help with speaking and improve the way in which the patient uses their voice.
- Teaching helpful speech exercise to improve the use of the lips, tongue, and supporting muscles in the mouth and throat.
- For children affected by brain injury or stroke, the therapist will help them grasp the meaning of new words.
How Long Does it Take to See Results?
As every patient is different, so is the amount of time it takes to see results. The success of speech therapy is dependent on a number of factors, including:
- The severity of the condition being treated.
- Patient motivation and commitment to daily practice.
- Involvement of the (child) patient’s parent or guardian.
- Existing complication such as stroke recovery or developmental disability.
Although this is not always the case, a speech therapist may recommend additional treatment after the main course of sessions has completed. They may recommend you to another specialist, who can give you a different perspective on you or your child’s speech disorder and may offer different treatment options. If you or your child need speech therapy, ask a doctor to recommend a speech therapist or search the internet for local listings.