Understanding Pediatric Speech Therapy

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When kids have problems with their articulation or making correct speech sounds, the most obvious thing to do is to seek out pediatric speech therapy in Salt Lake City. Pediatric speech therapists are quite adept at helping children of all ages improve their verbal and non-verbal language skills by enhancing three areas of communication: speech, receptive language, and expressive language. However, they can do more than that. They can also help children with dysphagia/oral feeding disorders, a condition that involves feeding and swallowing problems.

What Is the Difference Between Speech and Language Disorders?

Speech and language disorders might sound the same, but there are key differences between the two. Therapists help children with speech disorders by improving their articulation or the sound they produce and decreasing disfluency or stuttering. On the other hand, children who have problems with processing and understanding information may be suffering from a language disorder.

Examples of speech disorders:

  • Articulation disorders
  • Fluency disorders
  • Voice or resonance disorders

Examples of language disorders:

  • Receptive disorders
  • Expressive disorders
  • Cognitive-communication disorders

How Does Speech Therapy Work?

During speech therapy, the therapist will determine what language problem is affecting the child, what is causing it, and the best treatment for it. Speech therapists work with kids one-on-one, in classrooms, or small groups to help build their communication skills. They can help children with articulation, fluency, and resonance or voice problems, as well as oral feeding problems. They can also help treat receptive, expressive, and pragmatic language problems.

Each speech therapy strategy is tailored for each child’s unique needs. Some of these strategies can include any of the following:

  • Articulation therapy
  • Language intervention activities
  • Feeding and swallowing therapy

When Is Therapy Necessary?

Not all children with speech delay or problem need to see a speech therapist right away. However, there are specific signs you need to look out for that it may be time to see one, such as the following:

  • Difficulty with eating or drinking age-appropriate foods and liquids
  • Inability to articulate certain sounds
  • Stuttering or speech disfluency
  • Difficulty processing and understanding information like directions or questions, or they constantly need assistance to understand the words spoken to them.
  • Problems with regulating behavior and organizing information
  • Inability to communicate well because of their problem in turning words into phrases or sentences.

How Can a Speech Pathologist Help?

speech therapy session

Each child’s case is unique and requires different strategies to effectively diagnose the root cause of the problem and determine the best treatment plan. However, dealing with children, especially the younger ones, is not easy at all. Pediatric speech therapists are specially trained to deal with children. They can make every therapy session as enjoyable as possible for their young patients. For example, a speech therapist may encourage children to pretend play, such as playing with dolls, to help target sounds in a fun and therapeutic way. Another way play can help children is by motivating them to play a game where they’ll need to follow certain rules and a sequence of specific directions.

Speech therapists can help improve a child’s communication and language skills, but they can only do so much. Parents also need to do their part because experts believe that it is the time spent at home, in the child’s natural environment, that really creates a lasting change. Of course, therapists will provide parents with the right tools to help them and their children achieve success in this endeavor.

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