What do Speech Therapists do for Kids?

What do Speech Therapists do for Kids?

For many young children, producing certain words or sounds when speaking is challenging. This can lead to frustration for a child, and they may not be well understood by others or feel unable to express themselves. When left untreated, these challenges can affect a child’s ability to succeed in social and academic situations. While imperfect speech is considered to be widely common and ‘normal’ in young children, some children do not develop their speech and language skills as quickly or as easily as others, which can result in them falling behind developmentally and can also affect their confidence and self-esteem. This is where an experienced and qualified speech-language pathologist can make a mountain of difference in the life of a child. Speech therapists can help children in a wide variety of areas. They are the best resource when it comes to supporting a child’s speech, language, and communication skills. If you are concerned about your child’s speech, don’t wait to seek support. Early intervention offers the best outcome for a child, so get started by scheduling your free introductory call today!

What conditions are helped by working with a Speech Therapist?

Fluency Disorders: Fluency disorders affect the flow and cadence of speech. Stuttering is a prime example of a fluency disorder, which can also be referred to as “dysfluency.” 

Articulation Disorders: An articulation disorder is defined as difficulty in producing a single or a few sounds or consistently mispronouncing specific consonants and vowels. Sounds can be substituted, left off, added, or changed.

Language Disorders: A language disorder is defined as difficulty communicating using speech, writing, or gestures. There are two main types of language disorders: receptive language disorder and expressive language disorder. Difficulty conveying meaning to others is referred to as an expressive language disorder, while difficulty understanding other speakers is called a receptive language disorder. 

Voice or Resonance Disorders: A Voice Disorder affects the quality, pitch, and volume of the voice. Someone with a voice disorder may not speak in a way that is appropriate for their age, gender, cultural background, or geographic location. Voice disorders may also be referred to as “dysphonia,” meaning an impairment of the voice. 

What Are Some Signs a Child Should See a Speech Therapist? 

It is increasingly common for children of all ages and abilities to spend time with a speech therapist. Even children who are developing as they should can reap the benefits of speech therapy. Speech therapy appointments are a great way for a child to learn to speak more clearly and effectively. In some cases, a child may have a medical condition that affects their ability to speak clearly.  Some of the most common medical conditions that affect speech are:

  • Hearing Loss or Impairment
  • Weak Muscles/Poor Muscle Tone Around the Mouth
  • A Cleft Lip or Palate
  • Vocal Hoarseness or Nodules 
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Breathing Disorder
  • Swallowing Disorder

Sometimes, a child needs the help of a speech therapist unrelated to a medical condition. Some of the signs that your child might benefit from speech therapy are: 

  • Your baby does not begin to ‘babble’ between 4-7 months
  • Absence of Gesturing (pointing, waving, etc.) by 7-12 months
  • Unable to make verbal requests between 12-24 months
  • Not Speaking in (short) Sentences between 18-24 months
  • Difficulty Producing Certain Letter Sounds the Majority of the Time between 2-3 years 

If you are concerned at all about your child’s speech and language development, it is important to connect with a speech-language pathologist right away. Even if you aren’t sure whether your child is on track or not, a speech therapist can help. At Great Speech, our speech and language pathologists are experts when it comes to helping children succeed in their communication. Get your child started on the path to success by scheduling your free introductory call today!

What Does a Virtual Speech Therapy Session Look Like?

During the first appointment that your child attends, the speech therapist will conduct an evaluation  to identify where your child’s challenges lie.  They will ask your child to say specific words and sounds, listening carefully for any errors, disruptions, or inaccuracies. In some cases, this evaluation may be recorded, the therapist may take notes as well. This evaluation process helps the therapist properly identify the needs of your child and create a custom treatment plan.

In almost all cases, the best course of treatment for speech and language disorders is targeted practice. If your child is having trouble with articulation or fluency, their therapist will likely spend time demonstrating the correct placement of the tongue, lips, and jaw to make the proper sounds and then ask the child to copy them. This means copying the placement and movement of the lips, mouth, and tongue to articulate the correct sound.

Sometimes, a speech-language pathologist will use mirrors, asking your child to attempt to make the correct sound while looking at their reflection. Many therapists will also use games and activities to make this repetitive practice more fun and engaging.

If your child needs help with a language disorder, the speech therapist will help you with grammar and sentence structure, identifying how to combine words properly to form clear ideas and statements. If your child often has trouble understanding what they hear when being spoken to, the therapist may play games that strengthen these skills, such as Simon Says or Broken Telephone.

Can Online Speech Therapy Help My Child?

Online speech therapy is the most convenient and effective resource for helping a child with challenges related to speech and language skills. Online appointments are not weather-dependent, eliminate wasted time traveling or waiting, and can reduce scheduling issues since our therapy is available outside of normal business hours. In addition, the digital nature of online speech therapy adds an innovative component that is particularly appealing to children and teens, who are naturally digitally savvy.

Speech therapy can not only help to develop strong speech and language skills, but it can also result in increased confidence, independence, and self-esteem. When a child is empowered and supported in their development, they are more willing to take risks and make mistakes, which are the stepping stones towards success. 

While a speech-language pathologist may spend an hour or so a week with your child, you will spend dozens of hours a week talking to and interacting with your child. Everything from waking your child, getting them ready for the day, reading, talking, and putting them to bed at night, are important interactions. These everyday routines offer opportunities for your child to learn and communicate. 

A speech therapist will also equip you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence you need to continue supporting your child at home. So feel free to join the end of a session to ask questions, take notes, do some research, and work closely in collaboration with your child’s therapist. Together you can make an amazing team and support and guide your child as they grow and change. Get started by scheduling your free introductory call today!