What is Speech and Language Therapy?

Speech and Language Therapy identifies issues in speech, language or communication – in both children and adults – and provides training to overcome them through scientific and structured therapy. The therapy is provided on a one-on-one basis, according to individual speech or language needs. Different speech or communication disorders – such as stammering, faulty articulation, delayed speech or language development, speech development in autistic children, slow communication, swallowing disorders etc can be treated through systematic therapy.  A speech-language pathologist is a professional trained at the master’s or doctoral level to evaluate and help the child or adult with an articulation problem. Early help is especially important for more severe problems.

What does a Speech Language Therapist do?

A Speech Language Pathologist or Speech Language Therapist identifies and manages issues with language, communication or speech. These services are independent, and not prescribed or supervised by another professional, but often, speech-language pathologists collaborate with other professionals in providing rehabilitation and related services. In India, a Speech Language Pathologist needs to have a minimum graduation degree in the subject, and preferably a Masters. Every Speech Language Pathologist has a unique Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) number.

What areas can a Speech Language Therapist treat?

Speech disorders

  • Articulation – the way we say our speech sounds
  • Phonology – the speech patterns we use
  • Apraxia – difficulty planning and coordinating the movements needed to make speech sounds
  • Fluency – stammering
  • Voice – problems with the way the voice sounds, such as hoarseness

Language Disorders

  • Receptive Language – difficulty understanding language
  • Expressive Language – difficulty using language
  • Pragmatic Language – social communication; the way we speak to each other

Other Disorders

  • Deafness/Hearing Loss – loss of hearing; therapy includes developing lip-reading, speech, and/or alternative communication systems
  • Oral-Motor Disorders – weak tongue and/or lip muscles
  • Swallowing/Feeding Disorders – difficulty chewing and/or swallowing.

How can Speech and Language Therapy help your child?

The speech-language therapist looks at your child’s speech and language skills within the context of his or her total development. Along with observations of your child, the SLP will use tests as well as his or her knowledge of milestones in speech and language development .In speech language therapy, a speech language specialist will work with a child with a specific disorder along with different disorder and specific therapy approaches. Therapy is individualized to meet each child’s needs.

What to expect from therapy?

Our clinicians work 1:1 with the child to help maximize his/her communication. Young children will be immersed in a therapy environment that will facilitate an easier approach to speech production. Children of motivated and systematic hard working parent will show noticeable improvements during their initial sessions itself.

How can parents be helped?

If the SLP finds that your child needs speech therapy, parental involvement will be very important. Parents can observe therapy sessions and learn to participate in the process. The SLP will also show careers how they can work with their child at home to improve his or her speech and language skills. With appropriate therapy, the child will likely be able to communicate better with family members and the rest of the people around him/her.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex condition that impacts normal brain development and affects a person’s social relationships, communication, interests and behaviour. Studies indicate that ASD affects one in every 150 children. ASD usually appears early in life, often before the age of three, and is four to five times more common in boys than in girls. Regression of language and social skills are strong indicator of ASD. Studies suggest regression occurs in ASD typically between 18 to 24 months of age.

What causes ASD?

The causes of autism are still largely unknown. We do know that it is not caused by parents or the way a child is raised, and there is likely no single cause. Research is underway to explore possible causes including genetic and environmental factors.

Is There a Cure?

There are highly effective treatment and intervention methods available that can help individuals and their families address the characteristics of this disorder. Early interventions are intended to help children with ASD develop skills, learn to communicate effectively, share in family life and enjoy success at school.

Who treats ASDs?

Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement.  The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of individual children.  Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better. Ideally the treatment protocol is coordinated by a multidisciplinary team that comprises key professionals from different field.

Expectancy from speech therapy

For many children, symptoms improve with treatment and with age. People with an ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but many are able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment. The Center for Speech and Language Pathology treats people of all ages with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Treatment approaches and goals vary based on the age of the person.

What is stammering?

Stammering is a disorder that affects the forward flow of speech. Speech may be interrupted by repetitions, interruptions on the sounds and words in speech. Stammering is also known as stuttering.

What are the risk factors for stammering?

Risk factors commonly seen are

  • Family history of stammering – a parent, sibling, or other family member who still stammers.
  • Age at onset – after age 3
  • Time since onset – stammering for 6-12 months or longer.
  • Gender – It has been found that males are at a much greater risk of stammering compared to females.
  • Other speech production concerns – speech sounds errors or trouble being understood.
  • Language skills – advanced, delayed, or disordered.

Is it true that being nervous causes stammering?

Not true. In the earlier times, it was thought that nervousness caused stammering. But nervousness simply makes stammering more pronounced in some people. It is not the root cause, and to point out to a person who stammers – to ‘not be nervous’ ‘stop stammering’ ‘don’t speed up your words’ are some of the worst things one can do for the person’s self-esteem. Gentle practice sessions with verbal coaching to get rid of stammering non-judgmentally can help.

When to be worried when your child is stammering?

Children who begin stammering before age 3 and a half, are more likely to outgrow stammering. If your child begins stammering before age 3, there is a much better chance she will outgrow it within 6 months. However if the stammering persists beyond six months at a stretch – expert advice may help. Stammering can sometimes be quite stubborn if left to itself over the years. Tackling it in the early years with verbal therapy can ease this speech disorder altogether.

What is articulation?

Articulation is the process by which sounds, syllables, and words are formed when your tongue, jaw, teeth, lips, and palate alter the air stream coming from the vocal folds.
A person shows articulation problem when he or she produces sounds, syllables, or words incorrectly so that listeners do not understand what is being said or pay more attention to the way the words sound than to what they mean.

Is an articulation problem the same as “baby talk”?

An articulation problem sometimes sounds like baby talk because many very young children do mispronounce sounds, syllables, and words. But words that sound cute when mispronounced by young children interfere with the communication of older children or adults. Older children and adults have so many severe errors that their articulation problems are very different from “baby talk.”

What are some types of sound errors?

Omissions; e.g  “at” for “hat” or “oo” for “shoe.”
Substitutions; e.g “w” for “r.” “rabbit” sound like “wabbit,”
Distortions; e.g “th” for “s” so that “sun” is pronounced “thun.”

What causes an articulation problem?

Articulation problems may result from Oral structure deformity seen in;
Cerebral palsy,
Cleft palate. or
Hearing loss,
Dental problems.
However, most articulation problems occur in the absence of any obvious physical disability. The cause of these so-called functional articulation problems may be faulty learning of speech sounds.

Is an accent an articulation problem?

It can be for some persons. An accent may be a problem if it interferes with a person’s goals in life.

What is Corporate Speech Language Pathology?

Identifying and redressing different errors, or improving areas of communication for the corporate and business worlds resulting in more polished speech and communication – is the aim of Corporate Speech Pathology.Corporate Speech Pathologists are communication specialists who have in-depth knowledge and experience with many areas of communication skill building. The issues get addressed 1:1

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