How Can Your Child Benefit from Seeing a Speech Pathologist?
Speech pathologists, or speech therapists, work with adults and children of any age who need help with their communication skills. While the title implies that these professionals can improve your child’s ability to speak, which is true, they also help parents and children in many other – sometimes surprising – ways.
If you are on the fence regarding making an appointment with a speech pathologist for your little one, consider the many following ways that you, and your child, can benefit.
1. Improved Articulation
Let’s get the most obvious benefit out of the way. Speech therapists do work with children to help them improve their speaking skills. When working with your child on articulation, the pathologist will provide instruction and guidance regarding how to move the lips, tongue, and palate in order to properly articulate different speech sounds. This can help with children who have problems such as lisps, stutters, or other articulation problems.
2. Learning To Listen
Do you feel that you constantly have to tell your child to put away his toys over and over and over again? This might just be a sign of stubbornness, but it could also be that your child needs help with his receptive language skills. Some children really need help to learn how to listen. If you feel that your child has a lot of difficulty following directions or understanding questions, they may need help listening and interpreting language. A speech pathologist can work on strengthening these skills.
3. Expressing Yourself
Being able to correctly articulate words is the ability to speak. When you use these words to convey a feeling or message, this is using language. Some children can do one without being able to accomplish the other. When children are unable to put their feelings into words, they might grow frustrated, and this is when you might see temper tantrums and meltdowns. A speech therapist can use exercises to help your child develop stronger expressive language skills.
4. Speaking Socially
The way that we speak and communicate changes significantly depending upon social context. There are unspoken rules that we follow when speaking to others, whether we are politely asking a stranger for help or not interrupting our friends during conversation. Sometimes children have trouble grasping proper social etiquette for language. A speech pathologist can help to instill these skills.
5. Eating and Swallowing Normally
Some of the assistance provided by speech pathologists may focus more on health than on communicating. As they are well versed in the physical structures required for speech, many speech therapists also specialize in helping children, and adults, with eating and swallowing issues. They can recommend exercises to strengthen the muscle groups necessary for these vital activities.
6. Enhancing Your Parenting Skills
Few things are more frustrating than having a child who has a speech or language disorder. It is frustrating because you desperately want to communicate with and help your child, but the disorder creates barriers that seem impossible to get around. During your appointments with a speech pathologist, the pathologist will provide you with tips and recommendations that you can follow long after the appointments are over. They can teach you how you can extend the lessons that are leading to the greatest amount of progress to your home. You can learn exercises and games that provide fun and educational bonding experiences for you and your child that will allow you to help your little one show incredible improvement. Think of your speech therapist as one member of a team of loving people who are eager to see your child succeed.
If you have questions about speech and language make an appointment to see one of our speech pathologists.