Lets say you’re attending a parent-teacher conference, and the teacher tells you that your child might have a problem with a particular language or speech skill. Or maybe when you talk to your child, you notice stuttering. Is it possible for your child to have a problem? What should you do? In such instances, it is always best to intervene quickly. Get your child evaluated by a certified speech therapist to help you determine if your kid is having difficulties and to help you decide if speech therapy can help. A speech disorder is a problem with the actual production of sounds.
- Articulation disorders – Difficulty producing sounds in syllables or incorrectly saying words so listener’s cannot understand what’s said
- Fluency disorders – Problems like stuttering, where speech flow is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, prolonging sounds or repetitions
- Resonance or voice disorders – Problems with volume, quality or pitch that distracts listeners; it may also cause discomfort or pain to the child speaking
- Dysphagia or oral feeding disorders – Include difficulties with swallowing, eating and drooling
Speech therapists are professionals who studied human communication, including its disorders. They assess language, speech, cognitive-communication, and feeding, swallowing and oral skills to determine types of communication problems and the best method to treat them. When working with autistic children in New Jersey, a therapist will work with a kid one-on-one, in small groups, or in a classroom directly to overcome the difficulties of a certain disorder. They use various strategies, including:
- Language intervention activities – The therapist will interact with the kid by talking and playing, using objects, books, pictures or events to stimulate language development. He can also use repetition exercises or model correct pronunciation.
- Articulation therapy – Articulation exercises involve having the therapist model correct syllables and sounds for the kid. The level of play is appropriate to the age and related to the specific needs of the child.
- Oral-motor or feeding and swallowing therapy – The therapist will use various oral exercises to strengthen the mouth muscles. He can also work with various food textures and temperatures to increase oral awareness when eating and swallowing.
Ensure that the speech therapist you hire is ASHA-certified, meaning she has at least a master’s degree in the field, passed a national exam, and completed a supervised clinical fellowship. She should also have experience working with children with the same disorder as your child’s. Find a specialist by asking your child’s teacher or doctor for a referral. You can also look at local online directories. State associations for speech language pathology in New Jersey have listings of certified and licensed therapists.
Speech experts agree that parent involvement is important to the success of your child’s speech therapy for toddlers. Parents are a very important part of their kid’s therapy program and help bring about greater success. Kids of quickly quickly get involved with speech therapy services for children in the early stages of language development get lasting results when parents are very involved in the process. Overcoming a speech disorder will take time and effort, so all family members should be understanding and patient with the child.