Does Speech Therapy Actually Work?

Does Speech Therapy Actually Work?

Speech therapy is a form of treatment that was created to help individuals improve their speech, language, and communication skills and participate more wholly in everyday life. It empowers people of all ages to express their thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs, and to understand communication from others. Speech therapy has also been shown to improve confidence, facilitate independence, and promote social, professional, and academic success. 

While many individuals who work with a speech therapist are working to overcome specific communication challenges and reduce the symptoms of a particular condition or disorder that affects speech, speech therapy can also be highly beneficial for individuals who simply want to communicate more effectively and feel more confident in certain scenarios. Skills such as memory, problem-solving, focus, attention, non-verbal communication, and literacy have been shown to improve from regular speech therapy appointments. 

One question that speech therapists are often asked is whether speech therapy actually works. While the success rate of speech therapy depends on many factors and can vary significantly between individuals, overall, speech therapy is considered to be a highly effective treatment approach for a broad range of disorders and conditions that affect communication. 

If you’d like to learn more about speech therapy and whether it might be right for you or a loved one, connect with us by scheduling your free introductory call today! 

What Does Speech Therapy Help With?

Speech therapy can help with: 

In addition to the conditions listed above, speech therapy can also help promote early literacy skills in young children, improve self-esteem and confidence, and encourage individuals who struggle with social anxiety.

How Do I Know If I Need Speech Therapy?

Determining whether speech therapy is necessary involves an assessment by a qualified speech and language pathologist and identifying specific areas of concern and potential challenges. Some signs that may indicate the need for speech therapy include:

For Children

  • They are not reaching specific speech and language milestones for their age
  • They exhibit a limited vocabulary for their age
  • They have difficulty understanding and following instructions or responding when spoken to
  • Speech is difficult or impossible to understand by others
  • They exhibit frequent hesitations, distortions, or stuttering when speaking
  • They struggle to engage with others and use social cues and non-verbal communication

For Adults 

  • They exhibit changes in communication following an illness or injury
  • They struggle to recall or find the appropriate word when speaking
  • They have a persistent hoarseness to their voice 
  • They frequently shuttle or produce disfluent speech
  • They have challenges relating to cognition (memory, perception, focus, and problem-solving)

These are just some of the signs that speech therapy is needed. If you or someone close to you is struggling to communicate effectively, it is important to consult with a qualified speech and language pathologist to identify the specific challenges and determine whether a communication disorder is present. Connect with one of our speech therapists by scheduling your free introductory call today! 

What Age is Speech Therapy Most Effective?

While early intervention offers the best outcome for many children struggling with communication, anyone who needs help improving their speech and language skills will benefit from working with a speech therapist. Young children typically improve more quickly during speech therapy due to the flexibility and adaptability of their developing brains. 

There is no perfect age, however, to begin speech therapy. Speech therapy should be explored by anyone who wants to improve how they communicate, regardless of whether an underlying condition is contributing to their communication challenges. Teenagers and adults can see major benefits from working with a speech and language pathologist, including improved speech fluency, stronger language skills, boosted confidence, and better outcomes in regular life situations. 

What Activities Are Done in Speech Therapy?

The specific activities that are done in speech therapy depend on the age of the individual, the skills and deficits being targeted, overall communication goals, and the frequency of appointments. Speech therapists create tailored treatment plans for each individual, and no two treatment plans look alike. 

For children, speech therapy is typically play-based, involving games that focus on sequencing, conversation, and repetition. Playing games, role-playing, reading and listening to stories, and using technology are all common approaches in speech therapy for children. 

For adults, speech therapy commonly focuses on restoring or enhancing specific skill sets that aim to improve and strengthen coordination, improve memory and attention, improve pragmatic language skills, and promote vocal health.

What is the Success Rate of Speech Therapy? Is Speech Therapy Worth It?

When discussing the success rate of speech therapy, it is important to highlight that everyone’s needs are unique, and no two individuals develop in the same way. While some speech difficulties may improve over time or as the individual gets older, other challenges become worse when not addressed properly. When there is an underlying condition that is contributing to speech and language difficulties, these skills often improve as the individual recovers from the health condition. 

How successful speech therapy also depends on the frequency of appointments, consistency and dedication to practicing at home, the age of the individual, the presence of an underlying condition, the severity of the condition, the quality of speech therapy, and the overall mindset and attitude the individual has towards working with a speech therapist. For speech therapy to be effective, the individual must be willing to dedicate time, practice, and effort. If you are working to overcome communication challenges with a speech therapist, be patient and kind to yourself. Im[proving communication skills isn’t always easy and straightforward, so be sure to celebrate your wins and share your feelings with your therapist.

Don’t wait to get started on the path to clearer communication and increased confidence - schedule your free introductory call today!