Speech therapists help solve language impairments amongst kids and adults.
Speech disorders affect around 9% of young children in the US. Six to eight million American children suffer from language impairment while 7.5 million Americans having a voice disorder. These problems can be caused by certain brain defects or physical deformities. It could also be due to stress in the environment or failure to develop social skills. For adults, it can be caused by a stroke or brain injury. These are the reasons why speech therapists have become in demand.
Speech therapists or language pathologists deal with language disorders. They provide assistance to patients who have been diagnosed with speech related problems. They provide activities and training sessions in order to completely solve the language problem or at least lessen it.
• Stuttering or fluency problems. This happens when children have trouble pronouncing certain sounds in completing a word. Before they manage to finish off a sentence, they get stuck in certain sounds. Say for instance in saying the word stop, they pronounce the sound “st” a couple of times just like “st-st-st-op.”
• Incorrect articulation of words. This is a very common problem. Kids usually pronounce the word incorrectly and could possibly lead to misinterpretation. Say for instance instead of saying “rap”, they pronounce it as “lap”. Instead of saying “They,” they pronounce it as “say.” Lisps fall under this category of speech impairments.
• Voice disorders or resonance. This is the type in which patients tend to start a sentence loud and clear and eventually fade. The words seem to be “eaten” as they keep on mumbling. It is also like speaking through their noses.
• Language disorders. This happens when patients fail to create a complete thought. They cannot put together words and have a meaningful conversation.
Step 1. Before the actual therapy session begins, speech therapists will conduct an initial testing. This is where they provide questions or ask patients to say certain words. They are usually asked to just relax and not worry about saying anything wrong. The result of this test will help therapists in analyzing the problem and provide a solution to it.
Step 2. Speech therapists then create a curriculum to be followed by the patient. It is important for each patient to follow a different training content. Not all of them have the same problem and speech therapists must put emphasis on the most prominent problem.
Step 3. During the therapy session, there are different activities being done. They are usually designed to be more fun and flexible. It is just like going to school. However, the activities are usually on a one-on-one basis. There are instances where patients are gathered together for group activities. This is not common though during the first few sessions.
Step 4. Patients are asked to mimic the correct pronunciation of words. They are usually given photos and then they have to identify the correct word. Sometimes, they are given mirrors so they will see how they pronounce certain words.
Step 5. Speech therapists track the progress of the patient. Those who have shown progress will be given a more complex task for them to improve faster. Those who lag behind will be given easier tasks. The results will also be discussed with their parents in order for them to continue providing assistance even at home.
The length of time required for speech therapists to solve these speech impairments depends on the problem faced and the willingness of the patient to cooperate. To continue training even at home, let the patient continue practicing words over and over again until the problem is gone. The steps involved in this type of therapy are complicated and only experts can provide complete assistance.
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