Speech therapists or SLP’s (Speech-Language Pathologists) are professionals who deal with the study of communication and its ailments. They typically have a master’s degree, state certification in their field, and a certificate in clinical competency. They also deliver speech therapy in schools and also offer private speech and language therapy.
SLPs work with people who cannot make speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly; those with problems in speech fluency and speech rhythm (like stuttering or articulation disorders); people with disorders of the voice (like harsh voice and improper pitch); and those with impairments in cognitive-communication, like problem-solving, memory and attention disorders. SLPs also work with people with chewing and swallowing issues.
What is speech therapy?
When a child joins speech therapy sessions, an SLP will work with them in various ways: one on one, in a small group or in a classroom, to tide over difficulties linked to any speech disorder. No two therapies are exactly alike. While the treatment is determined based on the individual case, the SLP commonly employs the following strategies.
- Language activities
Activities like talking and playing, using pictures, objects, books, or continual events to stimulate language development.
- Articulation therapy
Exercise in sound production or articulation involves having the therapist model accurate syllables and sounds for the child, mostly during play activities. Such therapy should be appropriate to the age and suited to the individual needs of the child. The SLP will indicate physical movements of the tongue to produce certain sounds. At times, a mirror may be used in this activity.
- Therapy for feeding and swallowing
The SLP will use various oral exercises, such as the jaw, lip, and tongue exercises to strengthen the mouth muscles. The SLP will work with different food temperatures and textures to enhance the child’s oral awareness while swallowing and eating.
- Recommendations and follow-up
The SLP will apprise one of his professional findings and recommend the duration and length of speech therapy. Even if the professional does not recommend homework, one must ask for information and tips on working with the child in between therapy sessions.
The most important fact is that early intervention is crucial to solving speech and language problems in children. The earlier a child starts speech therapy, the faster will be the successful outcomes.
Even if a child’s school is offering the services of an SLP, a parent may want to supplement such efforts by hiring a private therapist. Private speech and language therapy is a wise investment in the future of the child. The following are the main reasons for this:
- More choice
While many schools provide the invaluable services of SLPs, due to budget concerns, they cannot arrange the parents’ choice of SLPs for each child. This is unfortunate, as any successful therapy relationship is based on a good fit between the child and the SLP.
By selecting a private SLP based on your needs and a child’s personality, a parent may be able to see results faster. When choosing an SLP, consider the following questions: Do they have the necessary training and experience? Is the therapy convenient in terms of location and schedule? Is the child able to connect with them?
- Undivided attention
In many SLP services available in schools, children are treated in groups of 3 or 5. This is because of the shortage of resources. This means that for a therapy session of 30 minutes, each child will gain only 10 to 15 minutes of direct care. In contrast, private therapy offers undivided attention that may provide a learning scenario for the child and help them progress faster.
SLPs services in school present a parent with less choice.. Based on the contract between the school and the SLP, a parent may have to travel long distances for the therapy lessons. But arranging private SLPs offers maximum convenience. With the hectic lifestyle of today, the value of this convenience should not be underestimated.
- Extra support
Language and speech therapy is tremendously important for the development of a struggling child. This makes private therapy a valuable option for many parents. Additionally, for many parents, gaining another partner for professional communication is highly valuable. It is an asset to their team having someone to brainstorm ideas with and someone whose experience is a valuable addition to the team already in place.
Impact on Educational Outcomes
Communication, speech, and language skills impact the ability of a child to fulfill their educational potential. So, the following interventions are necessary:
- Communication, speech, and language skills play a crucial role in a child’s school readiness and capacity to accomplish their educational potential.
- Not all children have the communication, speech, and language skills required to complete their education.
- SLPs work directly with children, their families, and other education professionals to develop personalised strategies for supporting a child’s individual needs.
- They also offer training to educational professionals so that they can identify signs of communication, language, and speech delays and support children adequately.
In sum, these are the reasons that speech therapy in schools must be complemented with the services of a private therapist.