Basics Of Speech Pathology

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Speech pathology is the study of language and speech disorders that focuses on verbal and non-verbal ways people communicate. A speech pathologist can even address swallowing and eating problems. This article will cover whether you need a pathologist, what services they offer, and the mechanics of speech therapy. 

Do You Need a Speech Pathologist?

A speech pathologist, also known as a speech therapist, researches the development of language in humans, how issues can arise, and how to best help their clients. While anyone can benefit from seeing a therapist, young children are commonly recommended treatment. This is because when a child's speech and language aren't developing appropriately for their age, it is easier to work with them before habits solidify or issues impact their day-to-day life. Language development varies from person to person, but a pediatrician can help clarify concerns about your child. 

There are some early signs to look for that may indicate a speech or language issue. A toddler of speaking age who isn't speaking at all or who cannot repeat words they have just heard may have some language development difficulties. If the child isn't responding when spoken with or if while eating they gag or refuse food frequently, then there may be an issue a speech therapist can assist with. 

What Services Are Offered From A Speech Pathologist?

Speech pathologists offer many therapies to help with the following disorders. Treatment can be done in a one-on-one, small group, or classroom setting.

Speech Disorders:

Here are common speech disorders:

  • Articulation disorders: difficulties with the production of sounds.
  • Fluency disorders: issues with stuttering, speech flow, and unnatural pauses.
  • Resonance/Voice disorders: problems with the pitch and volume of the voice, which can cause physical pain.

Language Disorders:

Here are common language disorders:

  • Receptive disorders: struggles with processing and understanding language.
  • Expressive disorders:  difficulties joining words, combining words incorrectly, and having a small vocabulary.
  • Cognitive-communication disorders: problems with memory, perception, regulation, and attention. 

Speech Therapies

One strategy is to do language intervention activities. Examples of this therapy include doing activities that stimulate language development, such as talking, looking at books, and building vocabulary. Repetition helps here.

Articulation therapy is a strategy that focuses on sound production. The therapist corrects and models appropriate sounds and syllables for the child, usually through games. 

For more physical disorders and symptoms, a therapist will do oral-motor therapy, which helps with awareness and muscle control. This is for children who have issues with eating or swallowing. Facial massage can also aid with these difficulties.

While early help with language development can lead someone to quicker progress, anyone can find success with speech therapy. Having a support network is key for any child or adult working in therapy. Through joint efforts and with a bit of patience, speech pathology can help to improve language development.

To learn more, contact a professional speech pathology service in your area such as Eastern Carolina ENT Head & Neck Surgery.