How Can a Speech Pathologist Help Your Child?
A speech-language pathologist, SLP for short, is a highly trained individual that can evaluate and treat children and adults for communication disorders. Below are some of the most common things that an SLP can treat - you may be surprised with what we can help you with!
Articulation, Phonology, and Intelligibility
Articulation is how we move the different parts of our mouth to make speech sounds. Intelligibility is described as how much a listener can understand you, and phonology is the rules, patterns and structures of speech sounds in language. Making sure that the development of a child’s articulation and phonological skills is on the right track is one area where a SLP can help. We ensure appropriate acquisition of speech sounds, while providing tips and tricks to improve intelligibility where needed.
Receptive and Expressive Language Skills
Receptive language skills refer to our ability to comprehend language that is spoken to us, while expressive language is our ability to use language; it is how we relay messages to our communication partners. It can be through facial expressions, gestures, sign language or words and phrases. As your child learns to hear and talk, it is important to track their progress to make sure that any speech and language issues are identified and treated early.
Stuttering is a disruption in the flow of speech characterized as breaks, repetitions, blocks, prolongations and interjections in speech. Additionally, there can be secondary behaviors that accompany these disruptions including tension, facial grimacing, or jerking/movements of extremities. An SLP may provide different strategies to combat disfluencies through a variety of facilitative approaches and techniques.
Voice disorders can affect our vocal folds which give us the ability to vocalize. They can include paralysis of the vocal cords, nodules or polyps on our vocal cords as well as a variety of other disorders that may affect our voice. Voice therapy has also been shown to help with conditions associated with vocal cord paralysis, including hoarseness, inability to speak loudly, and limited pitch and loudness variations.
Pragmatic/social language skills refer to the way you communicate and interact with others. It encompasses our social use of language. It includes using language to communicate in various ways and settings, changing language according to the situation, and following conversational rules. It also attributes to our ability to understand figurative language, sarcasm and humor.
SLPs treat a variety of swallowing and feeding difficulties that range from picky eaters, trouble sucking, chewing and moving food around in the mouth and the physical process of swallowing to prevent food from entering the airway (aspiration). If you are concerned about your child’s feeding or swallowing, a SLP can help evaluate them as well as provide treatment options.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
ACC refers to any alternate method of communication other than speech that helps a child communicate their wants, needs and ideas. It can range from symbols or pictures to low/high tech speech output devices. These alternative communication devices can be useful when a child is physically unable to speak or they present with severe language delays. This is not meant to replace a child’s voice, but only to enhance their communication. AAC can equip your child to communicate with a variety of communication partners across different settings.
Speech and Language development is a key indicator to academic and social success throughout life, and a Speech-Language Pathologist may be beneficial to helping treat your child in a variety of areas. If you would like to find out more information, or have concerns, please talk to your pediatrician or contact us at the Ochsner Therapy and Wellness for Children.