Speech pathologists specialise in speech therapy techniques for children and adults. So it is probably easiest for a person with a communication disorder to be seen and helped by a speech pathologist at an early age. While an older person can still benefit from speech and language therapy, it is more beneficial for a problem to be handled as soon as it is noticed. Starting speech therapy at an earlier age can address problems while communication and language skills are still developing. A qualified speech pathologist can work with a child either at their school, or a specialised clinic, typically in a group setting or one-on-one to maximize the amount of time spent with the child.
Recognition and Diagnosis
Speech and language therapists specialise in recognising and diagnosing a number of communication disorders. The three primary areas are the ones that centre on the areas of articulation (the proper pronunciation of words), fluency (pattern of speech), and resonance (volume and pitch). Complications related to these are most often noticed in children who have a tendency to stutter, stammer, consistently mispronounce, or have pitch or tonal disabilities. All of these things can impact a child’s interaction with other children, and adults, if not seen to at an early age.
Speech Therapy Techniques For Children
Speech pathologists are trained to use a number of practices and speech therapy techniques for children that assist in training one to properly communicate and articulate. With children, many of these activities can be turned into something of a learning game, such as with articulation therapy where a child can be asked to read aloud and say words a certain way, using their mouth and tongue in specific ways, to convey the proper sounds.
Another form of speech pathology used in assisting children with communication disorders is oral motor therapy, where in a child will perform a number of exercises with their mouth, throat and tongue in order to strengthen the muscles and train them to move and perform properly. These techniques are also essential in cases of dysphagia, another disorder that speech pathologists are trained to diagnose and treat where in the patient has an inability or difficulty with the act of swallowing. Through strengthening the mouth, throat and tongue, the act of swallowing becomes easier.
While these practices are standard with most speech therapists, there are new techniques and procedures constantly in development by dedicated speech pathologists who work to ensure that children can grow and mature while experiencing a positive quality of life, and an ability to clearly, effectively and easily communicate.