You may have heard the term speech therapy before, from other parents, teachers or healthcare professionals, but what does it mean? A common misconception is that speech therapy only benefits individuals who have a stutter, who have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds or who lack speech clarity. On the contrary, speech therapy is used to improve one’s overall communication skills, by addressing delays or disorders in language, articulation, oral motor dysfunction, apraxia of speech, social communication, fluency (stuttering), and cognition.
At Two Can Talk, our skilled clinicians, or speech-language pathologists, provide speech therapy for individuals of all ages – from toddlers to older adults. First, an initial assessment takes place where we look at each person’s current ability to express and understand language. From there, we develop highly personalized treatment plans and treatment sessions to best support one’s individual communication goals. Treatment activities vary drastically between individuals, based on their own unique interests and motivators.
Who can benefit from speech therapy?
Children and adults are treated for various concerns that impact their overall communication. Speech-language pathologists can target the following in treatment:
- Speech sound delay or disorder
- Fluency (stuttering)
- Speech intelligibility
- Expressive/Receptive language delay or disorder
- Social communication
- Motor programming (Apraxia of speech)
- Oral motor dysfunction
- Cognitive communication
As one can see, there are a myriad of factors that may affect one’s overall ability to use and understand language. Whether an individual has received a diagnosis, sustained an injury, or is behind in his/her developmental milestones, it would be beneficial to consult a speech-language pathologist to determine their candidacy for direct intervention.
Why speech therapy?
Speech therapy can have many benefits, allowing greater participation across different environments (i.e., home, school) and out in the community. This includes:
- Improving 2-way communication:
Provides individuals and their family members with ways to help express their needs, thoughts, and feelings. This includes unaided and aided communication (e.g., communication boards, books, apps and devices). Additionally, therapy will improve one’s understanding of language, including directions, comments, and questions.
- Helps with social skills:
Interacting with others involves various social communication skills, which can be an important aspect of speech therapy. This can be targeted in sessions using modeling, play-based activities, games, role play, social stories or using other tools and strategies.
- Facilitates reading skills:
Speech delays or disorders are often associated with difficulties in reading and writing. Reading and writing can significantly aid an individual’s communication participation, in addition to playing an important role in work and school. Early reading and literacy skills are targeted in sessions by increasing alphabet and print awareness, development of phonological awareness (i.e., sounds in words), and by incorporating reading during motivating treatment activities.
- Enhances Alternative Communication Methods:
Communication is often synonymous with speech, when in fact it can involve a myriad of other nonverbal or verbal communication methods, such as gestures, approximations, sign language vocalizations and/or other means. As social creatures, we humans express ourselves through a total communication approach. This involves facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, speech, visuals, writing, typing and many other forms of communication.
- Reduces frustration:
A breakdown in communication can be incredibly frustrating for both the receiver and sender of the message. Ultimately, the overarching goal in speech therapy is to help individuals express themselves so that they are better understood by others.
Find more on: Speech Therapy for Children and Speech Therapy for Adults