If a speech pathologist has diagnosed your child with apraxia of speech, you will understandably be concerned. This can be a serious condition and may lead to frustration for you and your child. The more you learn about this speech problem, the more comfortable you can be in getting the right treatment. It is helpful…
Is Speech Therapy Just For Kids?
People often associate speech therapy with kids who need to learn how to speak. However, speech pathologists also provide treatment for adults to assist with communication, thought processes, and safe ingestion or drinking. Continue reading to learn about speech therapy for adults.
Overview of speech therapy
Speech therapy deals with assessing and treating people experiencing challenges with language, speech, swallowing disorders, and cognitive functions such as conditions that disturb learning, perception, memory, and problem-solving skills. In adults, speech challenges can occur due to a traumatic brain injury, stroke, concussion, multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), or a neurological condition like Parkinson’s disease.
Speech therapy starts with an evaluation to learn the issue and the most effective treatment approach. Speech therapy exercises can help improve language, speech, and cognitive function (such as planning, short-term memory, and organization) in patients. Therapy may also include relearning how to swallow if a medical issue or injuries like oral cancer or Parkinson’s disease has made swallowing more difficult.
Interventions from a speech pathologist
In speech therapy, the speech pathologist may treat the patient individually, in a group, or in a classroom, depending on the nature of the problem. Some of the strategies used include:
Language intervention: the speech therapist will try to stimulate language or speech development through interaction, which may include using plays, communication, books, pictures, objects, and ongoing events. The therapist will exemplify proper grammar and vocabulary and build language skills with repetition exercises. Patients will also learn conversational methods to enhance social communication.
Articulation therapy: to improve sound production, the therapist may show the child correct ways to pronounce sounds and syllables in words and sentences in a playful environment. The play is fitted for the child’s age and condition. Speech therapy may include helping patients learn to make certain sounds and ways to move the tongue to get certain sounds. This therapy helps the patient deal with speech difficulties like getting the right words or completing statements. The therapist may also use breathing exercises to improve resonance.
Oral-motor and swallowing therapy: The therapist may use different oral exercises, including facial massage and different tongue, lip, and jaw exercises to improve the strength of the oral muscles needed for drinking, eating, and swallowing.
The need for speech therapy
The duration and nature of speech therapy depend on certain factors such as age, type, and severity of the speech problem, underlying medical condition, and treatment. Speech disorders sometimes start in childhood and get better as patients grow older, but some may persist until adulthood and need long-term therapy and maintenance. A speech disorder resulting from a medical condition like a stroke may improve as patients undergo treatment and notice improvements in the condition.
Speech therapy is effective for treating different forms of speech and language disorder in both adults and children, improving communication skills, and boosting self-confidence. Early intervention increases the success rate of the process. The speech pathologist will determine the improvement needed and help patients create a treatment plan to achieve results.
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