Pathways to clear communication
Speech-Language Pathology (or Speech Therapy) works to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults of all ages.
- Speech disorders occur when a person has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (e.g., stuttering is a form of disfluency) or has problems with his or her voice or resonance.
- Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or written and may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use (pragmatics) of language in functional and socially appropriate ways.
- Social communication disorders occur when a person has trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems (a) communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, commenting, asking questions), (b) talking in different ways to suit the listener and setting, and (c) following rules for conversation and story-telling. All individuals with autism spectrum disorder have social communication problems. Social communication disorders are also found individuals with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury.
- Cognitive-communication disorders include problems organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning, and/or problem-solving. These disorders usually happen as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or dementia, although they can be congenital.
- Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) are feeding and swallowing difficulties, which may follow an illness, surgery, stroke, or injury.
Many conditions, including cerebral palsy, autism, hearing loss, developmental delays, may cause difficulty with speech and language development. Some children may not understand language. Some children may understand language but be unable to communicate effectively due to difficulty with speech. Sometimes children experience challenges in other areas of communication, such as hand gestures and facial expressions.
We believe that early intervention is crucial to the development of communication skills and that every client should be viewed individually and treated uniquely according to their learning style and communication needs.
Family support is crucial to a child’s learning and parents should be involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of their child’s needs and progress. Our goal is to collaborate with families to better serve the needs of you and/or your child. At Sara’s Garden, we offer an individualized approach to assessing a client’s functional capacity and customizing interventions to achieve family-centered goals. This is achieved through supporting a person to learn new skills, modifying a task or activity and/or making changes to one’s environment, to enhance their level of functioning and safety and achieve even greater independence.
Speech Therapy is a clinical program aimed at improving speech and language skills and oral motor abilities that will allow your child to communicate more effectively. Benefits of Speech Therapy can include:
- Improvement in the ability to understand and express thoughts, ideas and feelings
- Intelligible speech so your child is understood by others
- Increased ability to problem-solve in an independent environment
- Improved swallowing function and safety
- Achievement of school readiness skills
- Development of pre-literacy skills
- Improved vocal quality
- Fluent speech
- Development of practical social skills
- Better quality of life
- Greater self-esteem
- Increased independence
The ability to express one’s self is paramount. Speech Therapy may help your child achieve a greater ability to use and understand language, to communicate with others and to express himself or herself to the greatest extent possible.
Speech Therapy combines diagnostic skills and teaching skills. A speech therapist has been trained to recognize the many causes of speech impediment, including physical, developmental, neurological, and social. They are also trained to determine the most productive methods of treatment. These can range from work with technological visualizing tools to basic practice techniques used to promote clear speech.
Speech Therapy techniques are usually used to treat a variety of problems that include articulation difficulties, fluency problems, and resonance issues. The therapies are classified into three main categories: articulation, language intervention, and oral motor. A combination of techniques from any or all of the categories may be used in a specific situation, depending on the needs and speech difficulties of the child.
- Articulation techniques concentrate on producing specific sounds of syllables with the child. The therapist may give physical demonstrations on how to place and use the mouth and tongue to create the specific sounds desired, and the activities are mixed with play that is age appropriate for the child. Patience is essential during these activities so that the child does not get frustrated or discouraged.
- Language intervention techniques are not as formal, and these sessions revolved more around playing and naturally interacting with the therapist. The goal is usually to encourage the child to talk more to help develop their language abilities. The therapist will then use this activity to make sure the child pronounces words correctly.
- Oral motor techniques are designed more for physical exercise to help build up certain muscles used in speech and other activities such as eating and swallowing. These exercises strengthen the muscles inside surrounding the mouth, making speech easier and more successful.
Some Speech Therapy techniques may work best with one disorder, while others may work best for another disorder. Determining which techniques will work best for each situation is important, because each child has individual needs and problems so the techniques used should be customized to fit these specialized requirements.