The Impacts of Speech Delays:
- Low self-confidence: When a student cannot be easily understood, it is difficult to share ideas, make request, build friendship, and participate. It is frustrating, and leads to self-esteem issues that often cause students to ‘check out’ and refrain from participating.
- Difficulty reading/writing: Children apply their knowledge of speech sounds when learning to read and write. If they are substituting one sound for another in speech, that is the sound they will use when attempting to write or understand a word. Literacy challenges affect multiple school subjects, self-help skills, independence, reading directions, writing messages, and learning through exposure to written information.
- Difficulty understanding/interpreting information: A language delay may make it feel like an important piece of the puzzle is missing, which results in other pieces having nowhere to attach. This results in challenges assimilating and applying new knowledge.
What Happens During Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy involves teaching the students how to coordinate the air stream, mouth, and mind to accurately produce a speech sound. The therapist teaches individualized strategies to help each student experience success. Once the student is successful at making the sound, the therapist works up a hierarchy of complexity. This will then expand to include making the sound in syllables, words, phrases, sentences, and conversation.
If the student struggles with understanding information, therapy might start with learning the meaning of concepts such as colors, sizes, shapes, placement, and amounts. Next, therapy would involve adding these key words into directions. Likewise, sessions would help the student remember key information so he or she can apply the knowledge to the activity.
Early language learners and students who have more severe challenges will experience therapy adventures that provide them with the building blocks of functional language. During the engaging sessions, the therapist will use a variety of prompts while striving to help the student become independent with using his or her new skills so he or she can happily participate in life’s activities in ways that are most successful.
What is the Purpose of Speech Therapy?
- Become fully engaged in school and benefit from the curriculum
- Develop self help skills and independence for activities of daily living
- Actively participate in life experiences
- Build healthy social relationships
The ability to communicate is directly correlated with ability to achieve success. Together, we are building smiles, mending spirits, and engaging students in their lives.
How Long Does Therapy Take?
Factors that impact how long a student will be in a speech therapy program include:
- The number of speech sounds that need to be learned (one vs. multiple errors)
- How often they attend (weekly vs. sporadic)
- Participation during the sessions (good vs. poor effort)
- Practicing outside of the therapy sessions
- Ability to retain the skills they learn
A student who has mild errors (one or two error sounds) will likely graduate from therapy within one school year. Multiple errors may take longer to remediate. Ultimately, the student’s team determines appropriate goals that help him or her to move forward in successful steps.
What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?
- Babies interact with their environment and caregivers
- Children play to foster creativity, derive joy, explore new experiences and ideas, and strengthen social interaction skills for healthy relationships
- Children contribute in their environment through roles such as setting the table, putting away toys, and caring for their belongings
- Children support their own well-being and seek independence through self-care tasks and emotional-behavioral management
- Students participate in numerous school activities that bring value to their own life and to those around them