When many people think of speech therapy, they think about the literal act of speaking. While this is part of speech therapy, it also includes language disorders and social skills.
Children who are non-verbal can benefit from speech therapy because they still need to be able to effectively communicate, even if it’s not with audible words. Your child may be referred for therapy if they have trouble pronouncing certain letters, are hard to understand when they speak, have difficulty understanding what others are saying, or they have other problems communicating. Speech therapists can also work with children who have feeding or swallowing disorders.
The speech therapist will work with your child to strengthen their speech muscles and learn to form sounds correctly. This can help with articulation and fluency, as well as the quality and volume of their speech. By exercising their oral muscles, it can improve swallowing and chewing which affect feeding. The speech therapist may also work on oral stimulation and sensitivity to different tastes or textures. This can really benefit picky eaters.
On the language side of things, they will work on expression as well as speaking and acting in socially appropriate ways. This can be a challenge for children with autism who may struggle with social cues or connecting words with emotions. For a variety of disorders, the therapist will model correct grammar and vocabulary help to expand your child’s vocabulary, and use books, toys, games, and other activities to enhance language development and processing. Oftentimes your child may not even realize they’re working because they’re having fun doing the different tasks.
Starting speech therapyearly can help to address problems before they become more serious. This can help your child to be more successful in school, build their self-esteem, and become a more independent communicator.