Speech pathologists work with children with several varieties of delays and disorders from mild articulation to autism. They can help your child communicate and speak with improved clarity. Beyond that, speech pathologists can do so much more.
Here is a list of other skills they can instill in your children:
Speech Articulation and Intelligibility
Articulation is the ability to move the lips, tongue, jaw, and palate to produce speech sounds. Intelligibility is how well people understand another person’s speech. If your child’s articulation is compromised, their intelligibility will be decreased. A speech pathologist can teach your child how to produce certain speech sounds or patterns they are having trouble making.
While speech therapy is the physical ability to talk, language is a system used to convey messages. People use both words and physical gestures to express language. A speech pathologist can help your child learn new words and how to use them properly to communicate better.
Receptive language is the ability to listen and understand language. Young children tend to have better receptive language skills than expressive language skills. A speech pathologist can teach your child new words and how to use that knowledge to answer questions, follow directions, and engage in simple conversation.
Fluency and Stuttering
Stuttering is a speech disorder that affects fluency. It is the breaks in a flow of speech called a disfluency and usually begins in childhood. Everyone experiences disfluencies but having too many can affect your child’s ability to communicate effectively. Stuttering often presents itself as speech behaviour that entails repetition, prolongation, interjections, and blocks. I can also be severe with tension in the jaw, neck, shoulders, chest; nose flaring, quick eye blinking, other facial movements; stomping feet, clenched fists; or other irregular motor movements. Speech pathologists can teach children strategies to control these behaviours to improve their intelligibility and fluency.
Resonance and Voice
Voice disorders are the result of disruptions in the vocal folds that give us our voice. This could be because of polyps or nodules on the vocal folds, vocal cord paralysis, and other complications that can cause aphonia (voice loss) or hoarseness.
Resonance is the quality of a voice-based on the sound vibration in the nasal, oral, and pharyngeal cavities. Abnormal resonance occurs if there is an obstruction in any of these cavities, which can cause cul-de-sac resonance or hyponasality. Velopharyngeal dysfunction can cause hypernasality and nasal emission.
Hoarseness is a common disorder that affects children because of vocal abuse. This refers to bad habits that can damage or strain their vocal folds like excessive talking, yelling, coughing, or throat clearing. Speech pathologists can help children reduce these behaviours and repair injured or strained vocal folds.